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