San Francisco

Ok so my visit to this enchanting city is turning into quite an adventure!

The other day I was confronted by the fact that my better half left the house to catch a bus, and had left her cell phone behind!

I knew that if I stopped to put on some socks and shoes she would have been long gone! So I charged out after her bare foot down the road trying to get her attention, after 2 blocks she finally heard me! and I gave her the phone so she could stay connected.

All the while I walked back to the apt building, I wondered if I would have been able to run bare foot on the street in my city, the pavements here are so darned clean, by comparison, of course; I still went home and washed my feet, mind you! Bare foot! on Divisadero Street, while people watched me do the 2 blocks at a run, havent run a long while mind you I was quite pleased with my performance!

Then we went to the Theatre the ‘Orpheum’ where WICKED was playing, a treat from my Son Taimoor, when we exited, the place after the show, we began to look for a taxi, as everyone was doing the same, with no luck, we headed for the bus stop, as we turned the corner on McAllister, there before our eyes was a real live scene, from Starsky and Hutch ! for the uninitiated, it was a cop serial of the 80s 4 cop cars blocking the street and surrounding the bad guys, who had assumed the position! by that I mean legs apart hands high and apart up against the wall!! I was very tempted to whip out my camera and start getting some shots, but being unfamiliar with the cop-public reactions I thought better of it. Wow! We witnessed our first real life police action in San Francisco.

But getting back to the theatre, The Orpheum, it was magnificent! the interior took me back to the old world charms of the ones in London, it truly was so beautiful inside! I wanted to photograph the interiors but was stopped my the ushers as photography was not permitted inside the theatre, what a shame! I so wanted to share the sight with you!

I was walking along the street on a pavement, oh! yes I forget we dont have them much in my city! they barely have room for the traffic! leave alone the pedestrians! and you know what the minute you step up to the edge at a crossing cars immediately slow down and make sure that they stop when the light permits pedestrians to cross!

at each crossing I also noted, while I waited for the lights to change so I could cross, was this message:

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That is how they make sure the streets dont fill with rain water, when it starts to pour! like its doing in another city in my country! They even encourage you to report anyone polluting the streets!

they even have a concept of citizen’s arrest! You as a citizen can arrest another citizen if you find them breaking the rules and laws of the city!!

 

Here are some of the areas I have seen for you to enjoy!

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ON WATER, 2070 letter

Khurshid Anwer

There are two lessons to be learnt from this presentation. One is the
obvious one of judicious use of water. But one can only do that if one
has water. The bigger challenge is how to conserve the source of our
water – the glaciers.

Glaciers work like mirrors and reflect back 70% of the ultra violet
rays from the sun and absorb only 30%. The oceans absorb 70% and
reflect back only 30%. As the surface area of the glaciers reduces due
to global warming, more heat is absorbed and less reflected back.
Higher ocean temperatures means more rapid glacier melting, setting up
a vicious circle.

The 70% reflected back by the glaciers would normally escape through
the atmospheric ring around the earth. But the atmospheric ring is
getting thicker every day because of the green house gases being
emitted through burning of fossil fuels i.e. oil, gas and coal. The
thicker atmospheric ring does not allow all the ultra violet rays to
escape but reflects them back to the earth. This sets up another
vicious circle.

We have already reached a point of no return. If burning of fossil
fuel is not curtailed drastically now, the glaciers will disappear in
30 years. The melting of the glaciers will also raise the sea levels
displacing millions of people living along the sea coasts, many times
more than what the reservoir of a mega dam would do.

The western world is very cognizant of these dangers but not us. Two
leaders got into an argument as to how honest the people of their
village were. They got a big pond dug up and asked each person to pour
a bucket of milk into the pond in the dark of the night. Each person
thought that since every one else is pouring milk, my bucket of water
will not be noticed.  In the morning when the two leaders came to
inspect the pond they found if all full of water.

Similarly governments tend to think that the comparatively small
amount of green house gasses they are allowing to be emitted will not
add to the global warming. One fine morning we will find all our
Himalayan glaciers gone just because we were too stupid not to go for
the alternate clean, cheap hydel power. Talk about mega dams being bad
for the environment, pray, what will be the environment like when
there are no glaciers, hence no water and the oceans have risen by 20
feet –

Old Judicial System still prevails

Supreme Court of Pakistan  has directed former President of Pakistan. Mr. Musharraf to appear on court on 29th July.  The case has not even started but a quick judgment prior to hearing from The Chief Justice of Lahore High Court and that too in front of hundreds of lawyers and media has already been passed.
Addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the Ferozwala Bar Association in Shekhupura district, Lahore High Court Justice Mr. Khwaja Sharif  passed a statement that Musharraf had seen good times and now should be ready to face bad times because of his deeds.  He also said that Punjab  Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would resolve issues of the judges’ salaries because he considered quick dispensation of justice vital according to The News, July 25, 09.
I am not sure if a serving high court judge has the right to pass any judgment or even comment on the extremely sensitive issue which is going to be started in Supreme Court of Pakistan after couple of days.
Mr. Khwaja’s views on former President and the current Nawaz Shareef Government clearly tell us the inclination and behavior of judiciary in Pakistan

 

A Pakistani Judge

By Tanzeel Ahmad

Supreme Court of Pakistan  has directed former President of Pakistan. Mr. Musharraf to appear on court on 29th July.  The case has not even started but a quick judgment prior to hearing from The Chief Justice of Lahore High Court and that too in front of hundreds of lawyers and media has already been passed.

Addressing the oath-taking ceremony of the Ferozwala Bar Association in Shekhupura district, Lahore High Court Justice Mr. Khwaja Sharif  passed a statement that Musharraf had seen good times and now should be ready to face bad times because of his deeds.  He also said that Punjab  Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would resolve issues of the judges’ salaries because he considered quick dispensation of justice vital according to The News, July 25, 09.

I am not sure if a serving high court judge has the right to pass any judgment or even comment on the extremely sensitive issue which is going to be started in Supreme Court of Pakistan after couple of days.

Mr. Khwaja’s views on former President and the current Nawaz Shareef Government clearly tell us the inclination and behavior of judiciary in Pakistan.

After witnessing that particular behavior of our “esteemed judge” many doubts have been raised in my mind not only regarding the fair trial of Pervez Musharraf but the overall behavior and professionalism of Pakistani judiciary.

In next few days big things going to happen in our country. This is just a very first loop hole revealed in Musharraf’s trial.

A government of immature amateurs July 24

Khurshid Anwer

Conversation between the Aaj anchor person and political analyst Haroon Rashid was most illuminating, the latter said:

– we have seen all kinds of governments but have never seen such a ‘be-amal’ government i.e. all words and no action.

– none of the ministers are people who have done anything notable in the past i.e. they are only party loyalists (I agree, the worst thing about a PPP government is its cronyism – the kind of people that are posted to important positions, PPP is a big family where even an imbecile relative has to be accommodated in a cushy job, examples abound).

– he said, the country cannot afford to sit back and allow a capital flight of 50 billion dollars.

– he said, never have we had such a ‘be-niaz’  head of state like Zardari i.e. he sees no evil, hears no evil, speaks no evil, except through US eyes.

(Rahman Malik says India is training Baloch youth in Kabul. Afghanistan agrees to clamp down. Does this make India friend or foe?

– Haroon Rashid concluded, when things come to this stage then the king-pin has to go.

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Other cheerful news:
Net foreign investment has plummeted 51% in FY 2009.

Inflation has increased by 20.77 % in FY 2009.

Pakistan ready made garments manufacturers and exporters have said there is a 60 % decline in buying orders due to load shedding.

Dr Salman Shah has said KBD would have saved 5 billion dollars in oil imports annually. He said cost of energy impacts directly on current account deficit, if the oil prices rise again, Pakistan’s economy will not be able to sustain itself.

Shouting why there is no power or gas load shedding for industries in Karachi, textile owners in Faisalabad have threatened self-immolation
in front of Punjab and NWFP Assemblies.

The banners seen in a procession:

na  bijli  na  pani

barre  khawar

chief  tere  janisar

No Flowers in your hair

My visit to San Francisco this July after a whole year, it not just a trip to the city, but to actually live in it for a few weeks.

I cannot help but draw comparisons between this place and the one I call home; I tell you, there is no comparison, but then there can’t be! How can I just sit here and compare that every person on a 2 wheeler wears a helmet, even the pillion rider, and they actually wear their helmets, not balanced them on their petrol tanks like where I live.

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People only cross the road when the lights permit them to, not wander off helter skelter, and challenge the motorist to the right of way! I see another glaring difference, there are garbage drums along the pavements at intervals and people actually use them; they don’t throw stuff out of their moving cars, there is no litter on the roads, and, even when they take their dogs for walks they clean up after them!! I did too when I had to take our little Havanese dog ‘Hero” out to respond to the call of nature!  IMG_1622

The parks, and there are many!  just like where I live, are beautiful and green no litter no mess just people sitting or strolling, kids playing, dogs running about chasing each other or their masters or playing fetch! Actually ignoring others or expressing curiosity at their fellow species, but not fighting!!! Unbelievable!

Even the dogs are well behaved and mannered!

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People are polite, they queue up to enter a bus, they queue up to buy their tickets they even queue up to queue up! Traffic lights are not jumped, and there is always a patrol car about when you least expect it, to nab you if you choose to break the law! Now that’s not saying the people here don’t break the law! Yes they do and by the dozens, for every type of crime there is a designated punishment, (you did the crime , you pay the fine or you do the time!)but overall they are law abiding, God fearing, and they have what we don’t back home, the caring for the community to which they belong! i.e. the Neighborhood!IMG_1625

The architecture is so varied, their buildings all have car parks for the residents and tenants and there are parking meters on the pavements for visitors; so there is never an issue about whose parking space it is or that you cant park here because some muscle-bound sumo wrestler chooses to stop you because he can!

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The law is supreme.

Talking of which, all of what I have shared with you, is governed by the laws of the city, state and country, and no one and I mean no one is above the law, not even the police chief or the President of the country; people do not cheat, lie or steal, in general but there are exceptions and that is the rule! If you are caught out you have to take the consequences.

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In a restaurant, or in a café, people bring their kids, who know that they should not disturb other around them, if the child does misbehave, the parents will leave the café, rather than permit the child to play up and throw a tantrum! I saw this unfold right before my eyes, in fact I saw all that I have mentioned take place; the mother took the child outside and sat down with him on a pavement seating and proceeded to explain but when the child would not stop his tantrum, he was promptly walked home, without any treat! That’s the way it is, here.

I have watched and waited, for an opportunity to record the breaking of the rules or laws, and I continue to wait and watch!

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This city has one of the most impressive transport systems I have ever experienced! For $15 one can travel all over SFO on any mode of transit, like buses, cable cars  or BART for a full month! So during the day we mostly get around like that; the buses are are very well run, there are seats for the elderly (senior citizens) infirmed/disabled and even wheel chairs!

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I watched as I was asked to vacate a seat which was turned up and floor space was cleared for the motorized chair to come up the ramp which was extended from the bus while the bus actually lowered its suspension on that side where the door is located; so the chair comes up from the pavement into the bus and is parked where the place is assigned for it!

All the while the driver kept an eye on the progress and when all was secure the doors closed and away we went ! The seating is so spacious and everyone is sitting without hassle.

The Bus stops have a read-out that tells you when which bus will arrive and bang on time it is there! Their systems actually work why don’t they work in my city?

 

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The goof is on a war footing July 23

Khurshid Anwer

The goof told the media men, “We will resolve load shedding on a war footing. I am going again to Karachi tomorrow”.

Once upon a time the jungle animals got fed up with the lion picking up any one of them for his dinner. A grand jamboree was called to discuss this matter on a ‘war footing’. The wisest of them, a monkey, was chosen to save them from the lion. The monkey could be seen every morning rushing up a tall tree and then rushing down again, but the foraging of the lion continued as before. When the affectees complained to the monkey, he said, don’t you see how busy I am all day on your behalf, meriyan jaandiyan dekho te meriyan aandiyan dekho.

PM has said Pakistan facing energy crisis. How observant of him.
PM wants power crisis resolved. If wishes were horses.

President admits outages taxing the masses’ nerves, load shedding must stop. Reminds me of King Canute who sat down on a Brittany beach and forbade the ocean waves from touching his feet.
He has also said, ghair rawayeti faisaley karney parrein gai. How about Kalabagh dam Sir, what could be more ghair rawayeti  than that.

He has asked Tajikstan to supply power pronto. He should find out whether it is thermal or hydel power. No need to annoy BB.

There is always a first to everything. We have had our first fatal casualty in the ongoing power riots. You can bet you bottom dollar this will not be the last.

PPP Punjab, not to be left behind, have accused PML-N of instigating the power riots in Punjab, they have stopped short of holding PML-N responsible also for the even worse power riots in Karachi.
On the positive side, dams have started rearing their ugly heads in TV discussion programs. One anchor person actually said out aloud that China has over 20,000, USA 9000, India 5000 and Turkey 800. Contrary to the anti-dam propaganda, China, India and Turkey are still going ahead with more mega dams.

Have you noticed a reduction in the load shedding. One reason is the cooler weather and the other is more water in the dams. So, are the dams good or are they bad. Should we go on listening to our ignoramus politicians, past (meaning deceased) and present.

One thing really cheeses me off when I hear anchor persons asking, is there no one who will get all the leaders together to resolve the water dispute between the provinces. They forget that in 1991 Mian Nawaz Sharif did exactly that and got all the provinces to sign the Water Apportionment Accord which, inter alia, states, “All provinces agree to the necessity of more dams on all the rivers, including on the Indus”. A clear understanding on Kalabagh dam. The Sindh delegation requested Kalabagh dam not be mentioned by name and Mian Saheb agreed, me thinks, he agrees too readily, going by what is happening these days.

Unfortunately before the Accord could be implemented, along came BB and in her regal fashion brushed aside all that was happening or had happened, good or bad. Remember what she did to the Motorway – stopped all work for months, said it will be four lane and not six lane, costs escalated due stoppage of work, the South Korean builders went home, and then belatedly it was back to six lane again. The same thing happened to WAA and people have even forgotten it exists.

Have a nice day, elsewhere.

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair….

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I must begin with an apology to everyone, my piece scheduled for last week, got sidelined because of this trip to San Francisco.

Yes, this comes to you from the west coast of the USA, San Francisco, to be precise; having recovered from the 15 hour haul over the North Pole, we got here in relatively good condition; it was not long before I had my camera out and began my collection of Photos of SAN FRANCISCO.

So the first impressions it is always the same, its good be back in SFO! On previous trips We were based out of San Jose and used to drive out to SFO for the day, but this time we are based in the Big City, since my son has moved there 2 months ago. He works with an IT Giant.

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Stepping out with the Family to get a feel for the neighborhood where we are staying with my son, Taimoor and daughter in law Aamnah we walk mostly because parking is always a challenge besides the MUNNI or bus service is so convenient and fun to use. This area is just off centre from the central part of San Francisco, and as you will see it is a very interesting city!

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This beautiful city and very friendly people, is so full of sights and scenes worth sharing with the readers, enjoy them! more will follow.

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