Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The smallest joke ever

Heard a great joke on TV:

Once there were two Pathans playing chess. (finished)

(Pathan are people of one of the provinces or states of Pakistan. I use them in the joke as i belong to them so they shouldn't feel offended. I have purposely exchanged them for a much more popular joke group of India).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Staring death into the eyes

I described earlier our trip to Oslo Norway. We traveled there with a cheap airline called Ryan Air. The next night we took our return journey which was delayed an hour. The pilot taxied the plane to the runway and then took it off to a side lane saying ice needs to be cleaned from the wings. This was unusual. They cleaned the ice for a half hour. Then we took off from the airport. The pilot asked us to expect a bumpy ride because of bad weather. After about 15 minutes of smooth flying, the seat-belt signs went on and the plane starting jerking vertically. After another 15 minutes, the pilot asked the cabin crew to take seats and fasten seat-belts!!! And then the plane shook violently. I saw an air-hostess grab a seat trying half-heartedly to smile at the passengers. With one big bounce the women gave out screams. But after half an hour it became ok and we forgot the event for the next hour.

Half an hour before landing in Germany, the pilot again put on the seat-belt signs and later asked the cabin crew to take seats. We again started experiencing the bumpy ride. This time around, the plan was not shaking up and down, rather swinging left and right. We could easily see the spin of the craft. The pilot began descending the plane and we started praying. There was pin-drop silence in the plane. The pilot took the plane below much before the usual time. I could see the runway a few feet below the plane and still the plane was swinging. The plane touched the runway, bounced up and again landed on ground. The pilot finally stopped the plane and we sighed with relief. Despite the bad weather, the pilot had made a very smooth landing. As we got out of the plane, the wind was so strong that our jackets ought to being blown off. Two of our frequently flying friends exclaimed that they had experienced many bad flights but none like this; and others said that this flight brought God closer to them than ever before.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Trip to Oslo, Norway

A few days back we 5 friends made a trip to Oslo, the capital of Norway. We bought return tickets of the cheapest airline "Ryan Air" for only 15 euros each. A combined room in a hostel in the center of the city was booked for about 20 euros per person. It was just a two day trip with one night stay. The airline Ryan Air offers such cheap tickets across Europe as it operates from non-regular airports far from big cities. The airport we were to fly from laid about a two hour drive from Frankfurt main airport. So we traveled there in a friend's car. We then took about a two hour flight to an airport in Norway from which it was a two hour bus to the Oslo city. This bus costs 40 euros for a return trip to Oslo.

Temperature in Oslo was not much below that in Germany, but strangely we felt extremely cold there. We reported at the "Anker" hostel at 11 am as required but they told us that check-in starts at 3 pm. Since we had the accommodation in city center, we didn't have to travel on bus or tram. We could go to the tourist places by foot. There were lots of Pakistanis on the streets. You could hardly walk for ten minutes without seeing a Pakistani. They were employed everywhere, from restaurants to security. The day was very short as Maghrib (evening) started at 3:15 pm. It is a city of just 500,000 people but it looked much more than that during the day (Wednesday). We saw the king's palace, Nobel peace prize building (where the ceremony was to be held on the coming weekend) and the (small) port. We also elevated to the 34th floor of a hotel to see the city. There were zebra-crossings on the road, but with traffic signals :) People were frequently breaking those signals and traffic had to stop even on green signals because of that.

One pleasing thing was that everybody could speak English, even on the streets and in shops. The old people could also communicate in English. We met only one old women and a couple of forigners who couldn't speak English. The most disturbing thing were the prices there. We were happy to receive about 5 Kronas but were startled by the prices even in the super market. A mere sandwich bread costed about 2-3 euros; 5-6 times more than in Germany. A small bag of chocolates candies costed about 10 euros.