Selasa, 29 Juli 2014

Home away From Home (Pakistan Trip day-1 part 2-end)

In Pakistan, they do follow the Islam instruction, one of them is to look after the Mosafer or A guest or pilgrimage. Here in Pakistan I am considered as Musafer although I am not doing for spiritual journey. Pakistani do respect and take care of their guest. They will not give the guest up to their enemies. And they will give their best to satisfy the guest.

 Muzzamil (red t-shirt). this is the only picture i have about him.
So, the one who is “lucky” enough to receive mosafer is Hafizh Muzzamil, a young father from Karachi. And the even luckier guest is ME, Indonesian scum bag just flying to Karachi. So I know Muzzamil from Couchsurfing. He is active member of couchsurfing and he has hosted many mosafer like me before. He loves traveling. He has been doing traveling to Europe, some South and Southeast Asia countries, also Middle East. He is father of two cute kids, Misha and Mikael. Until I wrote this post, I even do not know what Muzzamil actually does there in Karachi.

So muzzamil lives in joint family, as common in Pakistan. So In Pakistan, people tend to live in the same building with other family members. The joint family is very common in Pakistan, so I can feel the close relationship amongst others. He is living with his wife, two kids, his parents, his brother, and his sister. It is quite a big family. Everybody there can speak English, as the education medium in Pakistan is in English. I am very surprised even his father can speak English very good, because you can expect this if you come to Indonesia.

Okay, I arrive in his home right from airport. The building has security guard, he is quite old to be security guard. I have no idea many houses in Pakistan I saw that they hire not-so-young people to be security guard. I think it’s the kindness of Pakistani to share their prosperity with others who are not able to work hard probably. He opens the gate for us and Muzzamil guide me to enter his house. I put off my shoes (still with short pants) and venture inside the house. He directs me to see my room that I will stay for few days here. I am so thankful for this. The house is quite big for me. Then his Wife comes to greet me. His wife wears black long Hijab covering her hair with long dress; this is like Iranian hijab style, not burqa. Muzzamil’s family is quite modern (modern here is not that conservative as other places in Pakistan). Suddenly, his kids, Misha and Mikael come to greet me too. They are very cute and smart as their father. Misha, the elder one, once was in Bali with her parents during Nyepi. Masha has curly hair with fair skin and adorable smile. Mikael, the younger, is very active. He has no hair and he looks alike to his mother favor. 

It was really hot, muzzamil turns on the ceiling fan. However, it can’t combat the heat so he puts one more standing fan into the room. I am drinking waters, one of the best time I have of drinking water, I never value water like this before. I finish 3 glasses of water in a row. Then he receives his best friend, Nadeem, who is later is my savior. So nadeem comes to this house to borrow muzzamil’s backpack as he and his family will go for vacation to Azad Kashmir. Muzzamil introduces me to Nadeem and yeah everybody seems super nice for my standard. I found srilankan people are very nice, and I call it now that Pakistani is super very nice.
Muzzamil informs his brother in law, Usama-ji (ji is polite word to address usually to older people or respected one. Usama is couchsurfer too and he loves traveling. So I am feeling like home already. It is Like home away from home. We talk a lot about many things from traveling to politics, from economics to word issue.
Usama is a bit older than Muzzamil (I think) He has beard (as other Pakistanis) with very heavy voice and nice smile. He comes along with his kids too, he just comes to say hello to me. It is very nice of them.
the bazaar
The day ends in Pakistan during summer late. it is 7.30 pm and the sky starts getting dark usually in Jakarta it is at 6pm). I am about jet lag because of this and 2 hours difference. Furthermore, it is time to have dinner for me (at 6pm). Unfortunately, the Pakistan dinner time is not 6 or around, but 10 or late.
Muzzamil asks me to to join him to go to Bazaar for buying Nan for dinner and he needs to laundry his belongings. As I walk along the street, it is dark, there are limited street lights, dust everywhere too. The bazaar is just walking distance from muzzamil’s house. The bazaar is very crowded although it is about to 8pm (it won’t be happening in Indonesia). Once he’s done with laundy, he takes me to see and witness the very first time myself for Nan bread original one.

It is close to main bazaar and Main Street. There is one restaurant (or I don’t know what it is called) for selling nan bread. There is long queue for this nan, people are buying for take away mostly. Muzzamil told me before that one nan cost about 4Rs before, and now the price is hike. We have to pay first for the nan in the counter. And here in Pakistan, there is ladies lane and gents line, they are separated. Once he is done paying, he takes me to go to the Tandoor or Tanoor (which one is correct?) to see the making of nan. I am short of jaw-dropping for witnessing the chain of makin nan in this place. So one people prepare the dough, very fast, then one people will pt it into tandoor or furnace (it is very hot). He uses sticks to put the dough inside the tandoor and take it very fast and throw it to another me who is ready to pack it to the costumer. This supply chain system is amazing for me. It takes very fast even many costumers wait for the nan even my camera can’t snap the process well as it moves very fast. 
Nans are ready to bring home

put into the tanoor
Then we walk to super market to buy something then go to ATM nearby as I need money. It is local Bank and I just insert my debit card. However, the ATM can’t dispense money from my card. I am in trouble, I don’t have USD or other foreign currencies all I have is just this debit card and I am cashless. Then muzzamil calms me down as he knows that some his mosafer faced the same problem before. So I can withdarw money from international Bank, like HSBC, Standard Chartered, and CitiBank which are spread a lot in Karachi and other big cities.

Nan Bread
We are now home and muzzamil’s wife prepares for dinner for me. She made a curry, chicken curry and it must be eaten with nan that we bought before. My very first heavy meal in Pakistan and t is AMAZING. The nan is good and the curry is very good. I can only eat nan up to one and half slices and it is too much for me although i want to eat more but my tummy is not that big to receive all.   So it is the time of power shut down, and fortunately muzzamil has power generator to support the energy supply during blackout. It takes about 5 minutes to start again the electricity. And I am very tired ad ready to sleep with ceiling fan on. And I see that muzzamil and family have dinner very late for my standard, at 10pm and after that they start taking rest.

This is Falsa, summer fruit who is best for summer drink

We continue talking and he tells me that the power shut down will happen three times a day for 2hours each. Karachi experiences the power outage as other cities experience worse than Karachi. Pakistan finds problem in providing enough energy.

My very first night in Pakistan goes very well, more than I expected before. As I am inside the room, I start opening my internet, and I see many facebook messages about asking my condition in Pakistan. I do not reply all since I am a bit tired so I just update that I am safe and sound in Karachi for the first day.
And I am ready for the next day

Senin, 28 Juli 2014

Hotter Than Fire (Pakistan Trip Day-1)

"One who is free to sin, sins less; the very power weakens the seeds of sin"
Pakistani Proverb

My Srilankan Airlines flight from Bangkok finally arrives in Karachi’s Quaid-E-Azam Airport. Having connecting flight in Colombo before reaching Karachi makes my flight a bit longer, 3 hours 50 minutes. On my Karachi flight, not surprisingly, is occupied by all Pakistanis but me at the first time I see into the aircraft, I am feeling I am the only non-Pakistani onboard. In aircraft, the announcement is made in both Sinhala and English, not Urdu. 

Above the cloud, I see the area where is like desert area, very dry and covered with dusts with typical desert houses I saw in the movies and book. I am feeling that I am in the dream to see this to happen to me. The distant view from the cloud is so fascinating to me. The houses with flat rooftop is so different with I have in Indonesia. 

Enjoying Bollywood Movie onboard
The aircraft is about to arrive. The flight attendant announces that taking picture and video in the airport is prohibited because there was terrorist attack in airport a week before done by Taliban in this airport with more than 20 death tolls including the terrorists. This accident was about to scare me to come to Pakistan. The news broadcasted that the attack was very bad, however it is not that bad as the news said I think. 

I arrive in Quaid-E-Azam Airport. The occupancy of the aircraft is almost full. As the only flight from Colombo with extensive network especially from East and Southeast Asia, Srilankan Airlines makes big profit I think. I proceed to the immigration check, and I am in the foreigner line. There are two lines for foreigner and two or three For Pakistani. My flight is the only flight arriving in that time, so the queue is not that long. As I expected, there are about six foreign passport holders, and physically five of them are Pakistani and I am the only Asian look.  Although it is not many people to check, the immigration staffs work very slowly, I don’t mind about it actually. It takes about 5-10 minutes to clear the immigration for each (in foreigner line, I don’t think it happens in local line). Finally my turn, as I am the last, I am proceeding to the immigration staff, he opens my passport back and forth and also still he interviews me about what I will do, what I am doing in Indonesia, Who is my father, my friends, many things. However, I can feel the warmth and friendliness from him although he has moustache, big moustache as in the Bollywood movie, with big body, very intimidated. In another lane, there is two middle age ladies from UK, who is originally from Karachi, are interviewed too. But they two chill out answering the questions, but I am a bit stressed and sweating, and I am pretending it is hot although it is air-conditioned.

As I am done with Immigration clearance, I decide to go to washroom. They strictly separate the gender washroom, a bit further to each other. The washroom is not that good for international airport. It is clean but smells a bit bad. Along the way to the baggage claim, there are hundreds of soldiers in the airport. I think they are here for securing the airport after the attack, eventually I find out that they will be sent to North Waziristan for Militant Operation to combat the terrorist living in that tribal province. Oh I am feeling the condition of Pakistan is getting hotter, not only the temperature but also the security issue. I am stressed more and more.

I claim my baggage and give the tag to the staff asking for this. I venture to exit gate. The heat strikes me right away. I am feeling this is super hot. Many people waiting for their relatives brings the name of the respective people, but I am waiting for my friend from couchsurfing to come bringing the name, as I do want to have somebody brought my name in airport. 

As nobody brings my name tag, I go to ATM to withdraw money. I am cashless, rupee-less and I need money. Along the way to reach ATM, Many taxi drivers offer me the ride to go to city.

“Chinese? Korean? Japanese?” Asked by the drivers

I just reply smiling, I am busy with the heat as I am not customized yet. I found the ATM in the corner, another surprised thing, the ATM doesn’t work, and it is out of cash. Suddenly two guys come to me.

“the ATM doesn’t work, dude! You have no cash, no? you know, this is Pakistan” said by one of them with very cool English, copying as American rapper accent.

Another smile for me.

“are you Chinese?” asked by him again

“Indonesian, dude!” I replied

“Oh Muslim Brother, welcome to Pakistan! Are you working here?”

Syukriya, thank you! No I am traveling.” I leave the conversation as I need to find Muzzamil, my Cuchsurfing host. I am kind of dressing uncomfortably. I wear short pants, very shot above my knee, I am feeling I misfit with the condition there. As some young guys stare at me and come approaching, trying to ask me if I need help. I see the friendliness again here. However I still need to contact Muzzamil as I am lost in this airport. I see from distance the guy waiting for somebody and busy using phone. I immediately come approaching him and ask for help to use for texting Muzzamil. He just gives his phone to me with no auspicious as his relatives come and he needs to greet them, he just tells me to use the phone and he will take it later. I am super happy and can’t believe people so this nice. I use it and know that Muzzamil is on the parking lot to come to arrival hall, as I finish using the phone, I surrender it to its owner and he just gives smile to me as I thank to him.

During my await to muzzamil, I wait next to airlines counter. I am waiting about 5 minutes then muzzamil arrives and we just introduce each other.

So I know Muzzamil from Couchsurfing and we keep in touch since about two weeks before my departure to Karachi. He is about 30 years old but he looks young as he looks more Indonesian than Pakistani. He doesn’t have firm look and straight sight as Pakistanis have. He is very nice and helpful.

Muzzamil wears Srilankan shirt as he just went there and he knows I was in sri lanka before. He is a bit taller than me and obviously physically bigger than me. He wears long pants, I think it is jeans if I am not mistaken. We walk to parking lot to reach his car. I just realized this is Pakistan. The cars here are mostly low maintained. Muzzamil brings his small car, it is a bit dirty and it seems like the dust of the city makes muzzamil not to wash it as it will be no use because it is going to be dirty again right away. I sit in the front with him. He drives smoothly against the airport and he asks me to snap some pictures of airport from distance as I can’t click inside. 

We talk a lot during our way home. I tell about the pre-journey to reach Pakistan, the sticks and stones. He tells me about his family and the place that I will stay for few days later. 

Karachi from above
We pass the road, and IT IS HOT even for Muzzamil. The road looks very dry, it is like there is no rain for years. The dusts cover the street and the trees. Along the street people wear shalwar qamiz,traditional dress for Pakistan, North India, and Afghanistan. All covers their face from the dust. Fortunately muzzamil’s car is installed with air condition. 

I am so surprised with the lives along the way back home. And I see the chonsa, Pakistan mango which is very famous for its amazing taste and I am in the right season, because summer means mango season in Pakistan. The road is empty with cars, only few cars and CNG Rickshaw pass by. I think that it is not Karachi as I heard before. Actually is it sort of out of the city. Few buildings and houses along the way make me so surprise at first. 

Exit From Airport

It takes about 30 minutes to reach Muzzamil’s home. And the journey starts from here.