We stopped over in Muscat capital of Oman for 7 hours which we spent in the well-equipped transit lounge. On the flight up from Nairobi, I had discovered my calculator to be broken, so at one of the duty-free shops, I bought another one for 2 quid and paid for it with a US $5 note, getting the change in Omani rials so we had some money to buy some food in the restaurant. The flight to Karachi was short – only 1 hour and 10 minutes – and we touched down in Western Asia at 4:30 a.m.
Karachi. We queued up at immigration with about 200 Pakistanis and we were the only white faces there. Customs proved to be a formality and a man in the queue with us advised us to wait until daylight before we went into the city. So after we cleared customs we caught a service bus up to the Domestic Terminal and sat in the restaurant drinking tea until dawn arrived, cold and red, in the east.
It took quite a bit of searching to find a way into town but we met three other travellers – one Aussie and two Swedes – who had also just arrived, so the five of us took a taxi into the centre of Karachi and found a hotel.
We booked into the Hotel Poonam and crashed into bed for four hours, then set off to explore the nearby market. It was good to be in a truly hassle-free bazaar, and we wandered through the narrow, crowded streets filled with a colourful array of goods. Linda bought a woman’s outfit for 350 rupees and I bought a salwar chemise¹ for 180 rupees.
Back at the hotel we changed into our Pakistani wear and went out for a meal at a local restaurant then returned to our room for a 14-hour sleep.
¹The salwar chemise is the traditional dress of both men and women in Pakistan and India. It consists of a long shirt worn over baggy long pants.