Friday, March 24, 2006
# Posted 12:34 AM by Patrick Belton
I'm not the first person to have stepped from Broad Street, Oxford to Sindh in search of adventuring. There was, you see, Flashman. In my case I have been led here in my latest effort to live by my wits and by my pen, both of them slow. By way of mighty minareted Istanbul, in its shadows lurking Byzantium and the Porte, over the forbidden vastness of Iran, dragged by a lonely impulse of delight leading to this tumult in the clouds, now Karachi.
One might with naivete think that, with 350 years of convoluted political commerce between the subcontinent and Britain, in time we would have worked out how to use a Lloyds TSB card at a Karachi cash point. Such grand idealism in matters political ends often in heartache; no.
Penniless, rupeeless rather, at 3 am I befriend two water merchants returning from the Gulf, and have myself taken to a hotel where I manage to convince the manager it would be amusing if not strictly speaking fiscally advantageous to allow me to drink his coffee and read up on my brief between the hours of three and six in the morning. 'Be careful, this is Karachi,' I have been warned more than once. The received pronunciation that is my travelling accent produces smiles; they've seen the likes of me here before.
I arrive in Karachi quite by chance on the premier day of the World Social Forum, and a Kennedy School classmate of this blog's dear friend Sreemati urges me to tarry, and head to the North-West Frontier Province after a day or two of Sindhi hospitality. Desmond Tutu also arrived at Jinnah International Airport today, so I may well linger to hear him speak, and file a quick radio piece before embarking on the train to Peshawar.
In closing, I might note that I can post this to you, but I cannot read it. OxBlog, you see, is blocked from Pakistani ISPs. (5) opinions -- Add your opinion
Patrick, on the off chance you can read this comment, please be careful. Your foreign dispatches are to die for, but not literally.
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