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Karachi to Florida

Published Apr 28, 2011 07:23am


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Karachi, the city with the Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea, whichever you prefer, and Florida, the state with the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. I recently spent a week in Florida and could not help but notice how the feel of the weather, atmosphere and mosquito bites is very similar to that of Karachi. For all the cynics wanting to jump to quick judgments, hear me out.

I lived in Miami, Florida in the ’90s and upon general inquiry of, ‘isn’t it muggy and humid?’ I would simply reply, ‘I like it. I’m from Karachi and humidity is great for the skin, a natural moisturiser, and a real body booster for straight hair, so no complaints. For someone moving from Karachi to Florida, one could not ask for a better transition into the US.’ Karachiites know what I am referring to; we understand humidity and know how to live a life with it.

Except for May, June and October, the rest of the nine months the city entertains its locals with decent weather. There is a cross breeze in the city that is absolutely beautiful, no other city in Pakistan can boast of it. And although Karachi’s proximity to the sea maintains humidity levels at a high, we are also blessed with cool sea breezes relieving summer heat to some degree. Let me clarify, that sans the power and water crises, which is government created and a multitude of other problems which are also government created, God, in his ultimate wisdom gave Karachi a wonderful geographical location on this huge planet. If we, as a people, cannot realise its worth then it is surely our misfortune.

Karachi has miles of coastline and we still have not learnt to capitalise on it extensively. Where locals should be living a good life next to the sea we willingly let go of priceless land. It sits there unused, barren. Why?

Our city has gorgeous beaches, Sands Pit, Hawks Bay, Paradise Point, French Beach, and no one to develop it as residential and recreational property at a mass scale. Are only a few supposed to have access to the oceanfront?

Then there is the beautiful island of Manora, a gorgeous little landmass almost out of an Enid Blyton book.  As a kid I used to make frequent trips to Manora to visit Azim Bhai, my cousin who was then a cadet in the Pakistan Navy. It was usually a road trip – I do not remember if there was a boat ride involved – with a dinner stop at the dhaba for what has to be the best chapli kababs and garam naan. Ah, I remember the taste of the kabab so in sync with tamatar, annar dana and the cool breeze playing pleasantly with all the senses.  There is almost nothing like the feel of gentle refreshing wind and yes, Karachi has a lot of it like Florida.

Tragically we do not realise the value of warm waters and how heavenly it is to dip in them. Lucky us, the Indian Ocean harbours the most amazing temperature throughout the year, at least off the Karachi coast, unlike the Pacific off the coast of California.

In all my years of beach vacationing in California, I have never felt comfortable in its waters because the ocean temperatures in the Pacific, even in the summer, remains stuck in the ‘50s because of upwelling. Upwelling occurs when winds blow away warm surface water replacing it with deeper cold ocean-water. No upwelling off the coast of Karachi. Pray, get better usage out of it.

Another remarkable feature of Karachi, we have the sun setting over the Arabian Sea, not even the American east coast can boast of that. Ah, how we underrate what sits in our backyard. There is God’s ultimate bounty, grace and beauty hidden in a setting sun where the horizon is an azure sheet of endless water and hues of brilliant colours play magic as the sun’s fire mellows its brilliance and allows us to capture and catch a fair glimpse at itself as it prepares to rise in the other half of the world.  Our beautiful Karachi, God gave us the landscape and waters, we just need to start collecting seashells on its seashores, once again.

Bisma Tirmizi is a writer based in Las Vegas

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Bisma Tirmizi is a former Dawn staffer, currently a freelance journalist.

She loves food, music and simple pleasures. She can be reached at Follow her on Facebook here.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (27) Closed

Faraz Apr 28, 2011 01:37pm
I used to live right by the beach...ohh, this made me miss Karachi so much and the beach. Memories, memories.
Rabia Apr 28, 2011 01:49pm
Yes. Karachi's weather is often quite despised and underrated. it's true that we don't appreciate the beautiful land we have.
Ali Apr 28, 2011 01:59pm
If only we kept our beaches as clean as south beach.. I was there for spring break, and the place remained remarkably clean despite the thousands of drunk college vacationers.. I we were more responsible as a people..
Ali Apr 28, 2011 02:01pm
*I wish we were more responsible as a people.
adeel Apr 28, 2011 02:46pm
offcourse dis city rocks.....nothing better den dis.....
adeel Apr 28, 2011 02:47pm
baboo Apr 28, 2011 07:42pm
raw sewage is still pumped into the sea in karachi so it's highly inadvisable to take a dip in the water...
Mark Apr 28, 2011 09:25pm
So true i used to visit the beach so often...... My City By the Sea....miss Karachi alot, Good memories remain
abhay Apr 28, 2011 09:36pm
"Another remarkable feature of Karachi, we have the sun setting over the Arabian Sea, not even the American east coast can boast of that" Duh!! Kind of crazy to expect the sun to set in the east right?
R. Merchant Apr 28, 2011 09:57pm
Years ago, I left a hot Karachi morning for Miami. I had to stay overnight in freezing Frankfurt and hated all 23 hours of my stay. I was miserable and already homesick. Then I landed in Miami. As soon as I got out of the terminal a hot blast of air hit me. I remember thinking "this is home". And it has been since then.
Usman Apr 28, 2011 10:57pm
True that! Karachi runs in my blood :)
khursheed Yasin Apr 28, 2011 11:33pm
So true.
Waqar Apr 28, 2011 11:54pm
Never been to Karachi but lived in miami for 2 years. I was raised in Islamabad but Miami is just awesome. I dont think that there are more cleaner beaches in the US than Florida. Not just people from karachi but any one thinking of settling down in Florida is a very good idea.
farooq Apr 29, 2011 12:32am
exellent article,i really glad to learn about karachi.
saad Apr 29, 2011 02:29am
to be honest with you guy ... since last 2 years ... i have been avoiding using AC during night ... i open my windows and balcony door for air ventilation and believe me it does get a lil chilly during night and i njoy every bit of this breeze that sways in Karachi all night long ... wohooo this city rox !
Muhammad Ali Baloch Apr 29, 2011 03:07am
Hey, No one resident of Karachi or Pakistan will realise of that great weather excpect people who have lived North America, Sweden and etc etc..........It is really priceless....and amazing
Salim Khan Apr 29, 2011 04:15am
If only we had better governance.
Rev. Eldrick Lal Apr 29, 2011 05:43am
Yes, you are absoultely right. Often I visit Penscola, Florida and Panama City Beach, Florida. The weather and climatic conditions are almost same. Great article.
G.A. Apr 29, 2011 07:16am
I showed pictures of Karachi beach once to an American friend. He words still ring in my ear with expression of disgust and all: "What a dirty beach!". Sadly, that applies to our cities and we gladly export this quality of ours to overseas to many of our restaurants and convenience stores to give a few examples. In which other country do you find heaps of garbage in front of mansions!
Ghafoor Kirdar Apr 29, 2011 08:36am
First thing that City of Karachi is to do is to treat the sewage before dumping into the Indian Ocean. This is the main thing to have clean beaches. The second thing would be to have separate rain water drainage system. The third thing woiuld be to have strict rules for the beach trash. Are we ready for all this to have clean beaches? I would say it is about time.
BRR Apr 29, 2011 09:47am
You have not lived in the US until you have witnessed a great sunset at Laguna Beach, and have seen the Grand Canyon etc. Not much can compare to a sunset on a partly cloudy day off the costs of Southern California.
Rabia Basri Apr 29, 2011 09:53am
110% agreed with author... love beaches
my name is khan Apr 29, 2011 10:03am
Bismah speaks so 'like a desi' talking about the gift nature has given to Karachi and comparing it with Florida. Oh, where can you bring Miami Beach, Daytona Beach, Orlando Resorts and all the fun, which Americans have made, USA look so good. I love Florida, the spanish dominant multi-cutural State.
sjd_baloch2010@yahoo Apr 29, 2011 10:20am
Shahzaib Apr 29, 2011 11:34am
I also lived in Florida for 6 yrs and have visited Florida since the last 20 yrs. Now moved back to Karachi. Though I agree with you that there are similarities in Karachi and Florida weather and we have made a big mess here in Karachi. But by no means is there a comparison. Karachi air is nasty and polluted, the beaches-if you call that scum a beach-are even worst. Whenever we take a day tour outside Karachi e.g. interior Sindh and the moment on our return we enter Karachi, there is this whiff that welcomes us along-with noise, dirt and chemical pollution which makes the air even warmer. Florida does not have that. A place is not only defined by the weather but also other factors. Cleanliness, civic sense and it's flora and fauna. Florida means land of flowers in Spanish. What do you think about the filthy foods we have on streets here. I agree with you that of-course we are not developed. But by no means do we compare Florida with Karachi-even weather wise.
janagha Apr 30, 2011 02:56pm
Thanks Bisma for triggering a debate. what florida has we dont: honest politicians. if you have fifty per cent of such characters in karachi you would have 100 per cent of florida like feel there.
Ghafoor Kirdar May 01, 2011 08:48am
So if we are on comparison now then when was the last time Karachi beaches had Clean the beach drive? When were students gung ho to go to the beach and pick up trash? Stop the horse back riding and Camel riding on the beach since they are the source of added filth.