For reading material on this trip I borrowed a book on the history of maps and mapmaking. Its ideas make a good metaphor for this adventure.
The best early maps were made not by explorers or traders but by those who stayed behind, usually in a port city or trade center, drinking with sailors and collecting stories from travelers.
Karachi is passionate, alluring, seductive, loving and always teasing you with that quiet threat of danger.
You don’t wake up in Karachi so much as you come to. Your mind swirling with colors, sounds, images, faces, ideas and a taste in your mouth you can’t quite describe and can’t easily get rid of.
If Karachi is a three-day frat party then Lahore is a weekend at the university library just before finals.
An air of intellect hovers over the city like the smog that hit us as we collected our luggage in the airport. Yes, smog you could see indoors.
Cities should never be planned.
It robs them of any soul.
Designers can create efficient, functional, organized spaces, but they cannot breath life into them.
Maps at best show three things. Where you are, where you are going and how to get there.
These things are all up to Pakistanis, not me.
The rest of the world can contribute. At times we will help. At times we will hinder. But Pakistanis must decide.
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About Pakistan: Mapping The Unknown
OPB photographer and web editor Michael Clapp's reports from a two-week trip to Pakistan as part of an exchange program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists.