Day 9 – Bling
Corruption is big business in Pakistan, and Karachi sees its fair share of it. It was one of the first things Muna had told me about when she collected me from the airport. Corruption and the complete lack of accountability. Earlier in the week I went to the cinema. The trip was more for the experience rather than the film itself. I wanted to experience normal life for the Pakistani people who could afford such luxuries. The auditorium was much the same as any other worldwide and the nachos just as delicious, but as I sat there munching away, waiting for the film to start, to my horror the lights suddenly came up bright, the loud booming sounds of what obviously was the national anthem started and everyone commenced to stand. I was embarrassed and every part of my anarchistic personality (OK, not quite as bad as that) wanted to stay seated, however I did not want to draw even more attention to myself. I was already the only white, western, lone female in the auditorium, so nachos in hand and frantically wiping my chin of cheese sauce, I stood and listened to the stomping sounds of the song which, although I knew the ethos, I certainly could not understand the language.
“Sofia had already told me that the best way to earn a living from corruption here in Karachi is to join the police force.”
At its conclusion I quickly sunk back in to my big comfy seat, relieved when the lights dimmed and I once more had my anonymity. I presumed the film would now begin, but no, first we had the adverts and I was surprised and pleased to see an advert calling for Pakistanis to reject corruption. I supposed that the Government funded such an advert but I also had a sneaky suspicion that within that same Government, corruption was rife. Sofia had already told me that the best way to earn a living from corruption here Karachi is to join the police force, where you will be paid such a poor salary (hardly enough to feed your family) that you have to make it up to a living wage somehow. What better way to supplement your earnings than by using a bit of extortion on the 100’s of moped riders? Pull them over, threaten them with prison for some actual or invented driving misdemeanour, or hand over a fine which went straight into the policeman’s pocket!
I just thought I would mention that because day 9 has been pretty uneventful. Sofia went out this morning to sort out some banking issues, so I spent the best part of the day feet up and watching movies until around 5pm when the typical and usual trip out was decided upon, and I once again became the centre point for the excursion.
Oh yes, and Muna sent me an email with a link to the write up about the comedy at the Literary festival. If you click on this link you can see from the photo just how packed it was and read about all the satire comedy that was going on ( I am sure I can see the back of my red head down at the front on the left hand side).
I had noticed some pretty shoes in the shopping Malls earlier in the week which, unlike the expensive ones made by Sofia’s cousin, were within my budget. Muna had told me she would take me to some other cheap but nice shoe shops and today was the day!
Arriving at the street where the many shoes shops were I was no longer surprised to see the armed guards outside, but still took the obligatory photo to prove it.
I entered what felt like an Aladdin’s cave of bling. The shoes were beautiful. All manner of styles and all manner of coloured beads, stones and designs. I wanted sandals and I was spoilt for choice! With padded innersoles they felt so comfortable on my feet, unlike the hard flat bottoms of most of the UK sandals.
It was so hard to choose from the vast array of pretty styles. They made me wish I could buy lots and take them all home, but I calmed down eventually and settled on 3 pairs. The final price made me smile with delight, for who doesn’t love a bargain? Three pairs of well-made comfy pretty sandals for £30! Result.
Then home to, as usual, a delicious dinner of several new foods I had never tried, and that was end of day 9. Pretty mundane day really; still no baby and just a bit of sparkle to ward off the homesickness…