I took this picture from my friend Sipte’s balcony. I like to think of Karachi this way.
Sipte had just rented a gorgeous 1940′s art deco apartment overlooking Frere Hall (that steepled building to the left). This was about a week before I left Karachi, and the monsoon was rolling in. It was one of the few days, in all my time there, that I ever saw the white sky break into clouds. Black kites encircle the city constantly, and people feed them raw meat off the bridges. It’s a prayer and offering to these beautiful, ominous creatures. To me, the kites are the mascots of Karachi, or maybe a metaphor for the city. These are the birds of prey that Parsis rely upon to eat the corpses they leave atop the Tower of Silence.
Sipte’s apartment is on a busy street, but late at night, the traffic thins. American chain hotels, the Marriot and the Sheraton, rise above the park, and Karachi seems completely anonymous. It’s like a prototype or idea of a city, rather than any specific city. I felt anonymous too, this evening, and disconnected from the specifics of my situation, my history and my emotions. When I was little, I used to get this same sensation from black and white movies. It’s a sense of abandonment, related to but entirely more elegant than the sense of abandonment displayed in a good rock song. It’s a delicious, eerie kind of place, that Karachi city.
Thought I’d post a few more pics from my adventure in New Orleans a couple of weeks back.
That’s John on the right. The whole point of our trip was so that Jayson, as Ming Donkey’s One Man Band, could play John’s farewell bash on Saturday night at the Saturn Bar. A few days ago John left on military deployment to Afghanistan.
This is Guitar Lightening’s band. That’s Paul, proprietor of Green Goddess (yummy food, veggie options), on drums.
This is Liz, dancing to Lightening. She’s cool.
This is Jeremy at 9am on Sunday morning. He’s John’s roommate, and they both hail from Columbus, Mississippi.
This is Jeremy at 11am, at work as a dishwasher at the Green Goddess. And yes, that’s the lovely Liz, at work as a bartender, in the background. Continue reading →
Shahi Mosque, built in 1928 by the royal family, presides over downtown Chitral. Yep, northern Pakistan can be quite romantic–not only is it the ceiling of the world (a handful of the world’s highest mountains are in Pakistan’s Himalayas and Hindu Kush), but it’s the of stuff shahs and kingdoms, forts and legend, poetry, music and potent hash.
Wandered the old walled city solo, posed for at least a hundred cell phone “snaps,” had tea in a handful of homes, squeezed into one of those jittery hand pushed kiddie ferris wheels (those things are WAY more exciting than you’d think!) and temporarily joined a biker gang. True story.