Day 3 – A Trip to the Shop
Thinking I had escaped it, jet lag hit hard last night and, following a period of insomnia, I struggled to wake this morning at 10.30 and did so with a muggy head. Mornings in this household are late and unhurried, so it compliments my current cycle and, after a lazy cup of peppermint tea and some freshly squeezed orange juice served to me of course by one of the maids (I could get used to this), I felt a little better. Sunea and Rumi the maids are so lovely. Sofia has explained to me that they would otherwise live a very poor existence. Suneas’ family live in one room and without her salary and extra benefits (toiletries, education, food and clothes) life would be very different. That aside I find it very strange indeed to be waited on!
So today our first adventure was lunch in a French restaurant. I cannot say it was ‘posh’ by western ‘posh’ standards, but it was nice, clean and the food was absolutely delicious. I had a Rocket, strawberry and feta cheese salad and found lots more besides those ingredients in it to make it scrummy….. Muna and Sofia said we always need to keep fingers crossed about Deli belly, but so far so good.
I couldn’t help but to take more pictures of the shocking and amazing things I saw on the journey; like the spaghetti junction electrical wires and the children begging at the car as we stopped. Sofia always gives them Rupees and as she handed out hundreds of them to a gaggle of around 20 beggar children she did a quick calculation and converted the money to sterling for my information. Each child was receiving 80 pence which would feed each kid for a week. I couldn’t help but join in and spent a massive 200 Rupees myself to those grubby little hands.
Next, a trip to the local shopping Mall where, guarded by gun wielding security men, I felt safe and at home, especially when I saw shops that had home written all over them: Debenhams, Body Shop, Mango, Mothercare, not to mention all the normal food chains. I was not really interested in those shops, however, because (when in Rome and all that) I just wanted a Pakistani outfit. So bought a beautiful outfit consisting of silk trousers, a long floaty top and a scarf to finish off the look. Everyone speaks perfect English with a Pakistani singing accent, (except Sofia and her family who look and sound completely western) and so I was delighted when trying on my outfit two young women told me I looked lovely in it!
Home from the shopping Mall we followed the route along the sea front and I saw the beach. Although it was crowded with locals, camels, food sellers and even people swimming in the sea, it didn’t look very inviting for, as like the rest of Karachi, a day out at the beach would mean fighting with the rubbish for sand space. We were not close enough to see it but Sofia informed me that the romantic sounding Arabian sea was in fact black with pollution.
“A woman’s life and decisions here are run by committee.”
Home for the evening and I thought to relax and rest but, oh no, I had a difficult night ahead. Remember I said a Pakistani woman marries the family? Well a woman’s life and decisions here are run by committee, and the whole family came around for a discussion about Sofia’s plans for the birth of her baby. They are not party to the home birth plan, and rather they think Sofia will be staying home “for as long as possible”. So that we could even persuade them that was safe I sat them down to a showing of “The Business of Being Born”. Poor Sofia, I just want to pick her up and run for the hills.