Rabu, 01 Oktober 2014

Pakistan Day 3: Road Less Traveled 2/2

Me with topi and meals, this i called a Feast
Komal took me to her house. Her house was 4 storeys. First floor was rented, second floor was another family living in (yes, it was joint family house), and third floor was her real house. I met her mother (her father was working so I didn’t have chance to meet). Komal’s mother looked so young, and he was very excited to meet me. Also Komal’s sister in law (her cousin’s wife) was also there. Komal’s sister in law was doing her thesis about horizontal conflict of shi’a and suni in Pakistan, she also read Leo Tolstoy, as we had something in common.
As usual, the power shortage stroked the conversation. She had to turn off the fan and open all the windows wide. Her mom was coming with Chicken Biriyani, and some sweets. I was hungry indeed and took some, it was delicious. She didn’t cook, but she ordered because they knew I would arrive. If I could list all the Pakistani hospitalities, I would need 10 56-pages book to complete.
with Komal's Mother
Then komal’s mother gave me topi, a Northern area traditional hat. It was hot and komal took me to g upstairs to see around from the top. It was amazing to see Karachi from the top of 4th floor house. I saw from distant her youngest brother playing cricket with fellow kids. About 30 minutes I decided to go back down and I needed to leave soon because I didn’t want to be trapped in Karachi’s notorious traffic.
Komal had had marriage few months before and she would go to America with her husband. So i said see you again to her and her nice family. I was escorted by Komal’s brother by his car to go to Petrol Pump again to hail the qingqi.
from 4th floor
I directly stopped the qingqi to take me to Hasan Square.
“Bhai, Mujhe Batana Hasan Square, I want to go to Hasan square.” I told him as I didn’t want to get lost again.
Han, get in!” He said.
The ride was smooth and the qingqi seemed to not arrive in Hasan Square. Then I decided to stop. I was confused again. And I asked a man and he told me that I could get qingqi directly to NIPA. In the meantime, Muzzamil sent me sms that he woulg come back home late because the road was blocked by Protest activity, political one.
I succeeded taking qingqi to NIPA then to Safoora Goth. I already remembered all the places along University Road. The traffic was okay and I arrived home at Maghrib, Dusk.
I knocked the door and Musab let me in. Suddenly, Usama ji (Muzzamil’s brother in law) came with his kids. As a result, I played again with kids. We had so much fun. Urooba again served very nice food, now it was Naan with Chicken curry. I had dinner earlier because she knew that my dinner time was earlier that in Pakistan.
the sweetest sweets ever!
I continued again playing with the kids. Although we didn’t communicate well, we did have so much fun. They drew scenery. Surprisingly, the way they pictured mountain was same with Indonesian, two identical mounts with road in the middle and jungle sideways. We had fun until the kids had to sleep.
It was World cup event time, as in Pakistan football wasn’t so much popular, people were still following. Muzzamil came very late and he looked very terribly tired. However he took time to greet me.
I couldn’t sleep as I woke up late, then Musab asked me to join him and Muzzamil watching Football match between Nigeria vs Argentina. My first time watching football with Pakistani, and they did so enthusiastic. As I couldn’t stand longer, I signed out from them, and asked to sleep earlier. It was my very last night in Karachi.

Karachi sky

Chottu is playing cricket
Resident area
Komal's house from the top floor

They have some fun

Pakistan Trip Day 3: Road Less Traveled 1/2

The sibling, how adorable they are
As I arrived late before, I was very tired, and I just felt it. Muzzamil tried to wake me up, but he canceled because I was sleeping beautifully and deeply. Surprisingly, I woke up at 9 am. Nobody was at home when I woke up, except Muzz’s Father. He saw me waking up and offered for foods and chai, as always. I asked to take a bath first instead. 

Muzz’s father was so nice too. He prepared the shower room and made sure the water was running. Muzz’s father was about 70 year old age, and he was still strong enough to walk and do many things. Once I finished taking shower, he insisted me to rub my body with oil, I was not sure what kind of oil it was. I refused to use it at the first time, and he raised his tone to me and I just agreed to rub it. At first, I just rubbed it a bit, but he, again, insisted me to rub whole my body. The oil smelled not that bad, but it was oil, I didn’t use to it anyway. Thus, I just rubbed whole my body and he was happy, and he one more asked me to apply the oil on my hair. I was shocked how I could apply the oil for body to hair. Then he grabbed the oil bottle and just applied it to my hair, I couldn’t refuse. The scent of oil now spread over the room. Muzz’s father could speak English well, but he had a hearing problem, so I needed to talk a bit louder.

Urooba , Muzz’s wife, already prepared my breakfast, naan bread with mutton kabab and the best drink ever, Mango shake. The time I was in Pakistan was a mango season, especially chonsa one when people were so crazy about mangoes. The foods were delicious and again, the portion was too much for Indonesian like me. In addition, I didn’t find it spicy, so I needed to adjust it with my tongue in order to adapt the taste, so I just applied bon cabe (Indonesian fried chili) to it. It didn’t destroy the original taste, but changed a bit. 
How I miss these kids, Misha and Mikail

I had an appointment with my friend, Komal Masood whom I met in Indonesia during her exchange time. However, she was busy and asked me to meet at 3.30pm. We talked using facebook as the internet connection in muzz’s house was still working. Also, the power shortage happened again. Thanks to muzz who provided the power generator at home.

I felt like to not want to do anything today. So I just stayed at home, took a rest as a result of yesterday epic journey. There was no one at home. However, muzz’s brother, Musab, arrived home at about 11.30am. Musab is at the same age as me. He was very big and, for sure, was bearded. He used to wear a crochet taqiyah or topi because he was just from masjid or mosque. Musab was personally different with Muzzamil. He didn’t enjoy and like traveling as his brother, also he seemed to be more religious, I mean practically. 

Musab had a dream to continue studying in Saudi Arabia, as for him, Saudi Arabia was a holy land and the origin of Islam itself. He wanted to be a religious leader. I was so impressed with that. In addition, he put his hatred to India, yes He was typical Pakistani. When I told my plan to visit India after Pakistan, he seemed to condemn about. He was also proud of his cricket team, over any countries. He was also very intelligent. We had conversation for more than 1 hour.

Musab had to go somewhere, and then I was alone again. Luckily, the kids, Misha and Mikael, were at home. They came into my room. Although we didn’t understand each other, we had so much fun. They seemed to enjoy spending time with me. I showed them my camera and we took several pictures. They were very adorable. The words that I knew were only kya, chaloo, bhai, kyun, shukriya. However, those words helped a lot already for our conversation.

They had to sleep during the day and I started my journey again to see Karachi. Exactly in 24hours my Pakistan number was activated and I could use it. I sent an sms to komal where to meet and when. She told me to meet in Eidgrah, Nazimabad. And I just replied okay.

This is qingqi (taken from google)
So she asked me to take Rickshaw to reach her place, and I preferred to not use it because it would cost me more. So I decided to take qingqi to reach her place. 

“You can take qingqi to reach my place from Safoora Goth. Take qingqi to NIPA, then changed to Hasan Square, then another to Nazimabad Petrol Pump!” Komal told me.
“okay!” I replied. Actually I was thinking how to do that instruction.
I went out to wave the qingqi to go to NIPA. Because all qingqis were NIPA-bound, so I wouldn’t be worried. In qingqi, male and female passengers should be split. My qingqi was empty and I was the first passenger. I took back seat (in qingqi, they have 2 seats, front view and back view). More people waved for my qingqi. Then there was a lady waving, as in front seat there were 2 men already, so the driver asked me, in urdu, to switch the place. At first I had no clue what he told me, but when I saw the lady I suddenly understood and gave the seat for her and sit in from, with other 2 men.
my Qingqi ride
The ride was good; it was my first qingqi ride. Then the man beside me asked me.
“Are you Chinese?” he asked me. Actually I was enough with this question.
“Indonesia. You know ji?” I replied and smiled.
“Of course, it’s beautiful country! I have been in Malaysia too. What a beautiful country!” He said. I just thought that he might misunderstand about Malaysia and Indonesia. “So are you working in Karachi?” He added
“I am traveling here. I am still student.” I said
“Wow, Nice! So I am living nearby, please come with me to my house. I am working in Textile Company. I am so glad if you can come along, maybe just for tea?” He asked me. That was just small hospitability of Pakistani.
“I am so sorry, I want to, but I am in a rush to meet my friend, maybe next time.” I said honestly though.
“Oh that’s bad. I am so sorry, I would like to go with you and take you around, but I have to go back. Next time, Insha Allah. Anyway, I am Mateen (this is pseudo-name, I forgot his name). and you?” He said
“Suko. Thank you so much!”
He then patted on the back to driver to stop soon.
“So because you can’t go with me, I have to pay for your qingqi. Please don’t refuse, this is my honour! It’s nice to see you, Insha Allah we will meet. Khuda Hafiz! See you!” He then just left.
Khuda Hafiz! Bahut Shukriya, Thank you very much!” I said.
Somewhere near Aga Khan Hospital
I safely arrived in NIPA, and suddenly attracted some people to stare at me. I, however, ambled along the way and randomly took qingqi. However I realized it was the incorrect qingqi. He stopped somewhere I had no idea, I just remembered the place was far and only market and people. I was so scared then I decided to take rickshaw to go to Nazimabad Petrol Pump. I attempted to bargain lower the rickshaw to take me, and I finally surrendered to pay 200Rs to go there after forth attempts. It took me about 15 minutes to reach Nazimabad Petrol Station. I called Komal and then she arrived with his brother to pick me in about 3 minutes. It was pretty fast. Her brother looked older that I was and for sure, he was just in High school. That was typical Pakistani look

 to be continued ......

Nothing is more fun that this, huh?

Minggu, 28 September 2014

Pakistan day 2: Against the all odds (part 2/2)


Somewherely Nowhere
I tried to figure out about Clifton area. It was housing area with big housed and rich people. The area looked so well, a typical posh area. I walked with my tab as I needed to asked the people to show me the address of Mobilink. 

When I was walking, I passed Indonesia’s Consulate house. I was very surprised and I decided to get into in case I would get something from the house. The house was locked and there was one security guard. I asked him about this and told him I was Indonesian. Unfortunately, he could only speak few English.

“Not here, Office is there.” He told me and pointed somewhere.

I realized that that was the house not the office.
Indonesia's Consulate House in Clifton, Karachi
I walked passing the allies of the housing complex and asked many people about the address of Mobilink center.

 “D-21/22, Block 8, Chaudry Khaliquzzaman Road, Scheme 5, Kehkashaan?” security guard confused about the address.

 I screenshot-ed the address in my tab and showed him. Then it made the entire block busy. He gathered all the security guards to solve this problem and nobody knew about this address. It seemed like I made a chaos in the block already as people were trying to help me. It was a touching moment from me as people kindly helped me.

They couldn’t help but they asked me to come to security office next block that they might help me.

Shukriya, I am from Indonesia, not China.” I smiled to them as they kept guessing I was from China.  Then I left and followed his instruction and found the place he meant.
Assalaymualaykum!” I greeted the security guards
wa’alaykumsalam.” They replied.
Then I showed them the address of Mobilink, one of the senior guard knew this place.
“Ah, this is Punjab Chowrangi, pretty near from he, about 10 minutes by Rickshaw. Anyway, Do you want snack or something to eat?” He said and asked me.
Shukriya ji! No, thanks. Could you please give me Pani?”  I asked for water.
Then he instructed his fellow to give me 2 glassed of cold water and some jalebis. I drank it right away as I was so thirsty.
“Don’t go in a rush, I am calling Rickshaw Driver for you, don’t worry! Where are you from? China?” the guard said. In the meantime, other his fellows were following our conversation as they seemed to shy to talk with foreigners. I assumed they knew what we were talking about.
Nahin, I am from Indonesia, sir! How much from here to go to Mobilink center I should pay to rickshaw?”
“Indonesia? Muslim?” He asked me
I had no idea and just said “Alhamdolillah, yes sir!”
People were screaming happily. “ahaaaa, really? Very good. What is your good name?”
Pakistan (and the rest of South Asia) will ask your good name.
“Suko, ji!” I answered.
“Suko?? It is not Muslim name.” He replied
“It’s Indonesian name, sir! Many Muslims in Indonesia have Indonesian name instead of Arabic nameS.” I Cleared the understanding to him. Although I am Not Muslim but I am from world’s largest Muslim Country.
“oh Good Muslim Brother, don’t worry I will tell rickshaw driver to not fool you!” He said
Shukriya!” i replied

I enjoyed the drinks and jalebis. Few minutes later rickshaw driver came and then took me to Mobilink center for 40Rs.

Sky of Karachi
I arrived in Mobilink office. The security screening before entering the office was done. I smiled to the security guards, they replied.

It was Monday, a busy day. The queue was a bit long. I had to wait about 10 minutes to go to the desk. I gave him my passport to proceed to get SIM Card. I paid 150Rs and it would be active in 24 hours, not immediately. Then I had to think how to text Muzz and my friend right away and I had to wait.

I was thinking how to get home or to meet my AIESEC Friend, Hussain, as we agreed to meet. I saw free-to-try internet on Samsung tablet. I came to see then used it. I checked my email and got the email from Muzz asking about my condition then I replied. I checked my facebook page and Hussain sent me message to meet at 5pm in boat Basin. I replied and no answer from him as he was offline mode.

I stayed awhile inside the office to enjoy the AC before walking against the heat again. I still wondered where the boat basin was, and how to reach there (only by rickshaw). It was 2pm and the appointment was at 5pm instead. This area was far beyond my plan, as I didn’t search anything about Clifton area.

I walked hungry and on search for meals. I saw mall and decided to get inside as I was pretty sure that should be restaurants inside. The mall name is Forum Mall. I got into and proceeded myself to Food court area. I saw the menu and ordered for Chicken Briyani with Coke for 210Rs
I seated the empty one, and enjoyed my meals. Suddenly I checked and there was wi-fi. I enjoyed my big portion meal and the internet.

Cool People, huh?
While I was enjoying my meal, a group of cool people approached me.
“Hey Bro, whats up? Do you like the food?” Ask one guy,
Then the quiz is on, “Chinese? Japanese?” He guessed
“hmmm, Indonesia.” I replied

This country quiz seemed to not finish very soon.

Then he asked me to join his group with many cool people living in Karachi. There was a photo session for the new model wanna-be to get the fame. They all were so modern and sophisticated, and for sure they were high-class people.

“You know, this is my brother, he is now in London, UK!” He showed me his brother picture in his latest iPhone (iPhone is very luxurious here, not many people have it, or people dislike, I don’t know).
“you can go with us with our new car, don’t worry, my father is chief police, you will be fine with us” He said.
“I am so sorry, I have to meet my friends, and thanks for asking anyway. Nice to see you” I said
They then left the restaurant and disappeared.

Mall Alone
I had to wait Hussain and needed wifi to kill the time. I seemed like to not go out as it was still unbearable. I found nice coffee shop, which was not popular here in Pakistan, the coffee shop. I ordered one Cappuccino for 180Rs and enjoyed the wifi. Then actually I found out after Hussain replied my inbox that the Forum was close to his office. Then Hussain delegated his friend to meet me in that coffee shop in 2 hours. So I enjoyed the wifi for sure.

Mall Time
Hussain’s friend came at 5.20pm instead. (sorry I forgot his name, let’s call him Anwar). Actually, the seller of coffee shop kept asking me whether I needed more or ordered something. Then I realized that he wanted me to leave as I stayed there for about 2 hours.

Anwar waited for Hussain too to come in The Forum. Hussain arrived at 5.40pm. I knew Hussain from AIESEC Network although I had never met him before. 

Somewhere in Boat Basin
Hussain and Anwar were typical AIESECer. They did talk a lot about AIESEC things. We went for Chai again and Anwar insisted to pay for this time. We were waiting for another AIESECer to come as they would have meeting nearby. Finally he arrived and we left the chaikhanna to go to Dunkin’ Donut nearby.

Before Chai Time
Surprisingly, there were several AIESECers there ready for meeting. I got along with others and they were so nice. It was a happiness for me to meet friends here. As people say, Once You are AIESECer, you will be an AIESECer. I met one girl who went to Makasar in summer and she was so excited to meet Indonesian here. As I Came here for traveling not exchange. Her name is Duhree.

“How do you see Karachi so far?” Asked Duhree
“I love Karachi, the traffic was fine, and this city is so great.” I said

It seemed people so confused about it, but to be honest the traffic in Karachi is better than Jakarta.
They then had meeting leaving Hussain and me. I ordered donuts for 128Rs and had chitchat with Hussain. I needed to go, but one AIESECer will drop me home, so I had to wait them till finished.they finished at about 8pm and we started talking randomly again. We took some pictures and they were so good. 

As people started leaving the shop, and Anwar asked me to go with him as he would drop me, along with girl (forget the name). We passed through karachi’s traffic. And answer droped me home safely.
People were sleeping already but Muzzamil. We had a night talk and I shared my first “adventurous” trip in Karachi.

We said good night and I was so tired. 

Bus: 20 Rs
Drinks: 160Rs
Rickshaw: 250+40 = 290rs
SIM Card 150Rs
Biriyani + drinks 260Rs
Coffee 180 Rs
Donut 128Rs

total:1188Rs (12 US$).

Pakistan day 2: Against the all odds (part 1/2)

Karachi is inevitably HUGE.

Morning in Karachi

I woke up earlier and Muzzamil came into the room to check whether I was awake or not. I was ready to get shower and Muzzamil came into. He prepared and ensured the shower room was clear for me.
My Very first Paratha in Pakistan
We then had breakfast, my very breakfast in Pakistan. In Karachi, People are often eating out for breakfast. Just across then main road, there was a chaikhanna, a simple restaurant selling, undoubtedly, Chai, and paratha. Muzzamil treated me for this improper breakfast for me (I called it improper because I do not call these delicacies as main staple). We chose the seat next to Paratha frying pan. I just ordered chai and one paratha, but Muzzamil asked me to order fried eggs too but I refused. It was improper breakfast for me, but one paratha made my stomach all set (probably I was new here and needed to adapt) and Muzzamil ordered for 2 parathas.the chaikhanna was owned by Baloch people (people living the province of Balochistan, near I.R. Iran). Physically, they looked different with muzzamil. They looked fair like Hazara (like in the movie Kite Runner) but they do have beard like the rest of Pakistani. 

We had a nice paratha chai time, we talked about many things during chai-paratha time. It was random talk, so frankly I forgot what we had last time, but it was insightful indeed. We finished our meals in about 45minutes and Muzzamil paid for the bill. He knew that I had no cash so he owed me 900Rs for the rest of my day until I got cash in ATM. 

This Motorcycle is a must have in Pakistan. In Indonesia it is old-fashioned
We returned home and I was ready to explore the city of Karachi. Muzzamil came into room and borrowed me his kurta. He said to me that I would like a local (however it wouldn’t happen anyway). It was his purana kurta when he was young and skinny enough. However, I was not that bad with that kurta. Muzzamil prepared the magic map for me written by him. Yeah, he created simple tourist map for me to survive during my wandering in Karachi alone, also he told me the dos and don’ts. I was all set with my “armor” to roam the city and Muzzamil was off to work, before that he took me to main road to take a bus to go to downtown. He waved the right bus for me and it was fully loaded with people and their belongings, I forced myself to get in without thinking and yes I was inside and it was unbearably hot.
The small Chaikhanna for breakfast
Cups after the customers
Karachi is indeed Big City. This is the typical bus in Karachi, crowded and artistic

Bus Time
I was standing amongst the local inside the crappy bus. Fortunately my Kurta saved me from any stare from the passengers. The bus Money collector asked me for money, and I gave 20Rs and it was the flat fare. I couldn’t keep my eyes off to see what outside along the road and tried to remember all the locations and navigations written on Muzz’s Map. Halfway, I still couldn’t see what I imagined in the map. And I got seat this time after 15mins standing. 

The Clock Tower, British was here
Some people sitting around me looked at me suspiciously. I tried to not look at them in return. I kept my eyes on the bus door to make sure I wouldn’t get lost in huge Karachi. The bus passed the Saddar, he locatioan mapped by Muzzamil. I began to be excited to drop, however the bus kept running and I kept thinking where to stop. Then I saw Clock tower was nearby and many people stopped here. Although I knew I passed the stop that I was supposed, at least I knew the clock tower. I disembarked with other passengers safe and sound. As muzz and other friends in Karachi told me to not display any phone or valuable belongings, for me it was not that bad, it was okay.

Walking Under the heat
I was in Karachi’s Financial and Banking center area. Surprisingly, I couldn’t see the city alive yet although it was about 8am. Then I realized that life in Pakistan generally started later at 9am. The road was traffic-free, only few cars and rickshaws passing by. The pedestrians were few too. I was like the only pedestrian walking by.

One of Tall Buildings in Sadar
I started taking pictures of this area during morning, and I felt that this area was so peaceful not as bad as people said about. I was mesmerized by the buildings. I describe Karachi as a big city covered by the dust and doves. Karachi had plenty of corners and building full by Doves also the dust was so irresistible.

My first mission was to find International chain Bank, and I found it IN Standard Chartered in Saddar. The ATM was escorted by security guard. He paid me a smile as he knew that I was foreigner and we played quiz as he guessed my country of origin was from China or Korea or Japan (again). I told him I was from Indonesia and he just smiled back to me. I withdrew 20,000Rs for the rest of my life in Pakistan.

I continued walking roaming Saddar and tried to navigate myself following the maps. I realized my weakness here that I was not that good in navigating through maps. I just walked and walked and walked under the heat and I didn’t find any place I wanted to see. The heat stroked me more hotly now. I couldn’t stand more and I bought a cold coca cola to beat the sweat. Actually I brought mineral water with me but it was heated by the sun so I just threw it in trash bin. I decided to see the Atrium Mall. I tried to follow the map again and I passed the same road again, what a waste! I sort of lost my energy due to sweats flowing out from my skin. Then I asked traffic police to show me the Atrium Mall, and it was very near and I just walked in opposite direction. I was so happy to see the place I knew in Karachi (actually I had no any idea about other places in Karachi as I didn’t research about the city). I passed the market and I needed Local sim card. So I saw one of telephone provider shop and I proceeded in. it was AC room and I felt like I didn’t want to leave this office. Few minutes later my turn is to the teller. I told him my request but he couldn’t help as he told me to get sim card for foreigner only available in Center office, not branch. I left the office disappointedly. I walked and walked again. My mission now changed, I needed to get SIM Card as soon as possible. 

Morning is the most peaceful time here. Birds, human, and modernity live peacefully
I kept on walking through busy traditional market. People seemed to be scared with long beard and strong look. I knew that it might be not good for me to walk in that area, suddenly an old man walking from front came to me and grabbed my chin saying something urdu. I was so shocked and immediately responded by defensing myself and run away from that place. It seemed to not attract people and nobody cared or reacted about this. 

I run away from that point until I found plenty of Rickshaws waiting for costumers. I decided to take a rickshaw to go somewhere safer than this. Actually I had no idea the place in Karachi and it was not possible for me to go back to Muzz’s House as it was very far. In that time, I remembered about place called Clifton because I that area Mobilink (another Pakistan leading cell phone operator) had the center office. Okay I told him to go to Clifton (which I was no idea where it was and how far from Atrium Mall). He asked which part of Clifton to me, and I frankly had no idea where to stop, the I just said to him to drop me to Clifton as I would guide and navigate him. 
When Karachiites start working, Road becomes packed and stuffed

My first Rickshaw in Pakistan taking me to Clifton
“400 Rupees!” Asked the Rickshaw driver
“No, it is very near, 200 Rupees?” I told him I knew the place confidently
“It is far bhai ! okay, 300 Rupees special. ” He tried to lose
I was still thinking that was too much, so I just said “250 Rupees ji?”
“Okay, chalo!” He asked me to get in the rickshaw and shook his head.
I started leaving the area to place I didn’t know. I took several pictures while inside the rickshaw. The life in Karachi wasn’t easy I realized. People were living in street underneath the heat and dust, pollution, and the noisy city.

Rickshaw was getting nearer to Clifton after about 20 minutes, he asked me whether to go through underpass or not.

“Just go through underpass!” I said and pointed to the underpass. 

City of Birds, KARACHI
Actually I was very afraid and worried. Then we were somewhere in housing area. Damn, it was housing area and no office here. I asked the driver to keep on driving and he told me it was Clifton already and he asked me which part of it he should drop me. 

“Just go straight, and then turn left!” I said. Frankly I couldn’t think of anything.
Then I asked the driver to stop nearby intersection. I surrendered him 250Rs.

to be continued

an Residential Apartment in Karachi.
First Walking through busy Karachi