We walked along the crowded sidewalk at Zeinab Market... "where is the entrance to the market?" I asked my Pakistani friend. "Right over there Jess, we just have to cross the road."
JUST have to CROSS the road? THAT road? Are you sure? OK then, he grabbed my hand and off we went...
Just be aware that crossing major roads in Karachi is not easy. Karachi is one of the world's most populated & fastest growing cities with 14 Mio people, and a lot of them are on the roads! If there are any zebra crossings, I didn't see them and neither did the drivers of cars, buses, donkey carts & rickshaws. All you can do is wait on the side of the road, wait for a survivable gap in the speeding & criss-crossing traffic, and then run to the other side.
If you are travelling with children or eldery people with walking difficulties, try to "rally" a few locals to help you stop traffic in order to cross. So ladies: leave those high heels at home, and put on your jogging shoes ;-)
I've read all previous reviews about traffic in Karachi. It is shameful for us that most of them are true.
People mostly don't follow traffic rules. They break signals, run into one way & create traffic jam on every other signal.
Roads are insufficient for above 15 million population. They are not wide enough. There are no parking rules. People park on main streets. So traffic gets less space. Mostly in the evening when offices close, there is a great rush of traffic on the streets. Therefore it is not advisable to drive between 5 pm to 8 pm.
Foreigner's are advised NOT to take the risk of driving in Karachi. They should hire a taxi / cab or Rent-a-Car for moving in the city.
Actually there are fare more bikes /motorcycles here relative to western countries. People can't afford 4 wheel automobiles. Bike riders try to get benefit of their small size. On red signal they don't wait in the queue behind any other car. Instead they try to reach in front of the row. Bike riders are the major cause for a traffic jam.
SHOULD I MAKE A LIST.....FOR ME IT WASNT PEOPLE WHO HATED AMERICANS THAT I WAS AFRAID OF.....IT WAS THE PEOPLE THAT DRIVE THERE !!!! OMG THERE ARE LIKE NO RULES AND IF YOU DO HAPPEN TO GET CAUGHT BREAKING A RULE YOU JUST PAY THE OFFICER TO LET YOU GO ( GEESH WISH WE COULD DO THAT HERE IN AMERICA ) ...HMM LETS SEE WHAT ELSE....WELL KARACHI HAS 13 MILLION PEOPLE AND THERE ARE BOUND TO BE PROBLEMS...PICK- POCKETS, CAR THEFTS AND YES AN OCCASIONAL BOMBING, ABDUCTION OR KILLING....BUT I GUESS THE MAIN IDEA IS MOVE AROUND THE CITY WITH SOME CAUTION....DONT GO AROUND YELLING YOUR POLITCAL BELIEFS...DONT YELL AMERICA RULES!!! AND KEEP TO YOURSELF MOSTLY AND STAY LOW PROFILE AND TRY TO BLEND IN WITH THE LOCALS ( WHICH WAS HARD FOR ME WITH BLONDE HAIR !!! YIKES!!!
I have been to Karachi four times in total, the most recent being in August of 2004. Each time I visit the city however, the amount of traffic and overall disregard for other's well being continually amazes me. The streets are absolute chaos, many of which do not even have lanes. Drivers are extremely aggressive, and for the most part go wherever they please. In the three weeks I was there, I had witnessed three accidents. The very first incident involved a gentleman that was hit by a car at low speed on a congested street. The second accident featured a man who was struck riding his bicycle, and finally the third and probably most dramatic was the collision of youngsters riding their motorcycles quite recklessely on one of the motorways. Fortunately all those involved in the accidents managed to walk away with just a couple scratches, I credit this to the fact that since many of the streets are relatively crowded it limits the speed at which drivers can move along. However, it is still safe to say that when crossing or walking along the streets one should exercise extreme caution, as cars come very close to you.
At first I was going crazy inside the car because people were driving so crazy. I mean, they would get soooo close to cars that they were passing it was amazing. I don't know how ever single person's car is not beat up. After a little while I got used to it and would even reach out and turn the rearview mirrors in when I felt a traffic jam approaching. Drivers also have to watch out for motor cyclists because they weave in an out of traffic and cause a lot of accidents. If you're a foreigner, you shouldn't drive but instead let whoever you're staying with handle that.
The karachi is not only the city of beaches and lightening but also city of heavy traffic also. During the visit u can see the heavy rush of cars, buses and other traffice and traffic jams so please speical care taken during crossing the roads. If you are with younger ages kids then dont let them alone outside near the roads. If you are driving must obey the traffic rules to avoid any accident and be patient because some time lot of red signals and traffic rush may cause your temper loose hmmmmmmmmmm.
Statistically the greatest threat to a person in Karachi or anywhere on the planet for that matter is going to be from things automotive. Street life in Karachi is 'full on' meaning Karachi is truely a city that never sleeps. Pakistani people are not shy and they are really helpful so whenever there is a problem you can depend on the people around you to help out. At least that was my experience in Karachi. So would you please stop worrying now about kidnappings!
Traffic here is INSANE!!!
Don't bother driving..
(P.S: This pic is a 15 year old postcard..don't trust it!!)