it was tough to get out of the house and do any shopping since farhan’s family was clearly preoccupied with all the planning that goes along with two weddings. fortunately some family friends offered to take us around. i think farhan’s family was a little nervous because the city had shut down the previous day from riots and fires following the death and funeral of the shia priest that was bombed days before (a pizza hut and a petrol station were both burned down near some of the events we were attending), but joost, zoe and i felt plenty safe with our trusty driver asef (not to be confused with arzoo’s husband asef).
first we went to the sunday market near the arabian sea. before we could even stop the car children swarmed around begging to carry our things for us. one urdu phrase i used a lot was “nahiin chehia” for “i don’t want…” (i’m sure i spelled that wrong). the market was open air, but with fabric tarps tied together for shade. i did more people watching than anything, though i did manage to haggle with some men over a few items. buying food from steet vendors is always a no-no, but the roasted corn seemed safe enough. corn kernels were mixed with coarse sand which sped up the cooking i think. the sand was then sifted out and the corn was seasoned and hot and yummy. great afternoon treat.
after leaving the market, our driver overheard zoe, joost and i plotting on ways to escape the house to see more of the city. eager to please his foreign patrons, asef turned to ask if we had a camera handy. we asked where he was taking us, but he just put a finger to his lips indicating our destination was a secret. after an always adventurous ride (the traffic in karachi is worse than south america and (according to joost) africa), asef parked the car outside a mosque and signaled for us to follow. as we walked to the entrance we saw the mosque was actually much larger than it appeared from the road. we took off our shoes and entered karachi’s largest mosque, the white-marbled masjid-e-tooba. its single dome is simple, elegant, and supposedly the largest of its kind in the world. asef turned to us and asked, “you happy?” yes. very happy indeed.