I recently had the chance to travel locally. A road trip has been on my list of things to achieve ever since I started driving, and got solidified since I started driving on the highway more frequently. The only reason stopping me from taking one was my Dad who doesn’t trust the traffic on the motorway and has reservations about me driving long distances.

So when my brother-in-law decided to go fishing in Gharo and invited us along I was very excited,  I thought it was just a trip for breakfast to a famous restaurant or as they call themselves a cafe “Imran Cafe”, I thought the itinerary was simply: go have breakfast and come back but his intention was to go on and spend some time fishing. 

I got a call from him on a Saturday evening, asking me to reach his place at 7:30 the next morning, which was okay for me, at this point, I didn’t have many details of the plan and agreed to be at his place. The rest was “plan as you go” or “surprise me!” The good thing was I didn’t have too many details to share with my Dad so he couldn’t ask me too much and get worked up about anything. 

The next morning I woke up early a little unhappily, because who wants to get out of a warm and cozy bed on a winter morning? Prepared and headed to my sister’s house. For the trip, I wanted to fill up my gas tank and also get the pressure on my tires checked. So we stopped on the way, but the air pressure was taking forever and I began getting calls from my Brother in law so I rushed over. They were already packed and we had to split everything and everyone between our cars for the journey. 

Accompanying us were my sister’s parents-in-law who were in their car with my brother-in-law, My sister, and niece sat with us. They stopped for gas while I checked my tire pressure at the same station. The drive was pleasant early morning, it was cloudy and less crowded on the roads because it was a Sunday. It took us a little over an hour to reach Gharo. 

Our first stop was a restaurant for breakfast that my brother-in-law’s family regularly visited. I was expecting to stop at Imran Cafe but because they were leading I went where they took us. The breakfast was good, we ordered omelets, paratha, and sweet clotted cream. I personally really enjoy paratha and omelet for breakfast, so I focused on having that only. I gave the clotted cream a try but didn’t enjoy the taste so left it. The parathas were warm and soft. This is unusual with roadside cafes, their parathas usually stiffen out really quickly. But these parathas remained soft, so I was impressed. The breakfast was wrapped up with a cup of chai which was definitely not disappointing.   

After breakfast, we headed towards the fishing spot, which was off the main road and a frequent spot for the family to visit a few years back. For me it was a new place, I had not had enough experience with family picnics in Pakistan. The road to the spot was very bad, dusty, and broken, by the time we stopped, the car had a layer of dust on it that was getting everywhere when we opened the doors to the car.   

This fishing spot is a stream of water used for agriculture, but the area looked like it was clogged with water which I believe was the aftermath of the 2022 floods. We parked a car nearby and walked around to explore the area. My brother-in-law drew his fishing line trying to catch something. I did a quick walk around to see if anything of interest could be found but there wasn’t much, my niece was the only one who was very excited, she spent her time running around and exploring, everything was a new experience for her, so she enjoyed her self a lot. The rest of us not so much. 

I went back to the car and pulled out the folding chairs that my sister had packed to unfold them and sit down with my book, I spent some time reading in a shaded spot and will have to admit the peace and the serenity of the scene set the mood for reading greatly. It became a little boring for the others so we decided to pack up from here and head over to Haljee Lake, which was a little further away. My brother-in-law had not caught any fish either and there is no point in staying here, it didn’t seem like a great time for fishing.

The drive to Haljee Lake took one hour but the scene there was even more serene. We arrived at the wildlife sanctuary which was crowded but turned around right away to a quieter spot so we could continue to fish. My brother-in-law continued with his efforts to fish with his father,  while the rest of us found our own entertainment. I continued to read, my niece continued to play and the rest of everyone alternated between munching and sightseeing. After a while, they were still unable to catch any fish so we decided to wrap up for the day but before we left we wanted to check out the wildlife sanctuary because that’s where the crocodiles were. My niece was very excited to see the crocodiles and so was I. 

A crowd was already waiting near the crocodile enclosure. We saw a baby crocodile placed separately, which seemed almost dead to me because it was not moving but could have been sleeping. We also saw a peacock that was more interactive than all the other animals put together. I counted at least 5 adult terrifying crocodiles that were lazying around in the sun and boring the crowd. When the spectators got a little restless, a caretaker came with a long stick to poke the crocodiles into action, which was jumping into the water after the poke. Once they were underwater there was nothing much to see.

We walked towards the deer enclosure after the crocodile show and tried spotting one, I  was unable to find any disappointment I wanted to return as it was already the afternoon, and we were all a little tired and feeling unaccomplished.

I had a meeting in the evening and was fretting a little about that and was a little sleepy as well because I was unable to sleep on time the previous night. With these things on my mind, I was happy when everyone agreed to return. 

On the way back, my sister dozed off, although I told her to keep talking because I was sleepy too and I had the responsibility to drive them all back home. My brother-in-law did the sensible thing soon, he stopped over for a cup of tea, which was more than a welcome break from driving and the right caffeine kick required. It was at a roadside cafe we stopped for that chai. Our story does continue but you come back and read the next part. For now, let me stop and have my chai.

Karachi to Gharo

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

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Written by

Asma Siddiqui

The journey is what matters, not the destination!

I'm a food fanatic, a wishful traveler, a voracious bookworm, a compulsive cat-petter, and the silliest adult in disguise. On good days, I'm outside exploring the world. On better days, I'm inside reading books and sipping on a hot beverage that looks like chai or coffee. And on the remaining days, I write about my escapades.

I'm on my way to where I need to be, loving what I love to do and being awesome all the way.