Sunday, December 07, 2008

Finding Nemo

Today i tried to find a friend in the streets of Germany. The story began with a friend inviting me over for dinner. My mobile phone's battery was low and i had never my friend's house before. As soon as I got out of office at about 9 pm, my mobile died. I tried to turn it on for long enough to call or read my friend's number, but the Sony Ericsson E900 refused to stay on even for a few seconds. My friend told me that his house was next to the city-park near the water-pump. I got to the pump and looked around. No sign of friend. I walked around trying to find some signs, when a window on a 2nd floor opened. I walked towards it with a ray of hope, but in vain. It was only an old woman who came out for some time.

Finally I decided to try the dare. I yelled "Farhan", and started walking. No windows opened. I walked a distance and shouted again. The woman coming from the front with her dog saw strangely towards (a bit scared as well). I turned in one of the probable alleys and shouted once again. Unfruitful, I repeated it another alley. Another man jogging in the park stared at me. I came home, charged my mobile, called my friend and enjoyed his dinner.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trip to Nuernberg - trial place for hitler's generals

Some time ago, the university took us on a trip to Nuernberg in eastern Germany. It is a big and old city with the city center enclosed in an oval city wall with castles, forts and watch towers. Much of these is still preserved. A river runs in the middle. It was a three day trip so we had plenty of time to see around. The King's castle has been excellently renovated and converted into a youth hostel. This is thus one of the most beautiful youth hostels of the country and this is where we stayed. It is located at one end of the city wall, high up a hill. The first day we wandered down from the castle into the city and went through the city center to the other end of the wall and back. We also went to the 3-D cinema there to get the schedule of their shows.

Second day, after breakfast, we were taken to a museum to learn about the history of the city through models and see the life of kings there. Then we went looking for a market of Turkish residents. Once there, we found restaurants and shops of Turks everywhere. We are roasted chicken from one shop and prayed in a mosque. We also went to the 3-D cinema to see a small 4-D animation where they violently shook our safety belt laden seats.

On third day, we were taken to the parade grounds outside the city, where Hitler used to gather and display his military strength. It was a very big stadium where about 500,000 people gathered every year before the second world war. There we walked on the long parade road, a large portion of which was a bridge over water. Then we saw the unfinished building which Hitler was building to become the largest of the World. There was also an audio-visual museum about the complete history of Hitler's rise and fall. Even two hours were not enough to go through it completely.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Middle of July

It is a funny mid of July. There is no summer. The temperatures are around 15 C. People are wearing jackets. Its getting different.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A nation respecting its teachers

During childhood I often heard the story of a policeman who stopped the traffic to let a professor cross the street. Today I saw it in Germany. I was sitting in a bus coming back from the university, when a couple of professors got out of the car parking talking to each other. They were about to cross the road but then saw the bus and stepped back. The bus-driver stopped the bus and asked them to cross the road, even though it was no zebra-crossing. Normal cars may stop for pedestrians without a zebra-crossing, but buses never stop. This was the first time I saw this.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Travelling to Pakistan on Saudi Air through Riyadh

This time around, I wanted to travel to Pakistan with Emirates Air, since my wife expected to fly back with me and i was thinking of touring Dubai. But this year, the ticket prices were too high as compared to last time. All airlines were offering above 700 euros prices. At last Saudi Air came to the rescue and offered a ticket in 550 euros. This was probably their debut flight. They too had a very busy schedule and I could barely get a seat in it for my required dates. The agent promised a seat for me, however, it required me to stay on Riyadh airport for 7 hours without hotel. I had to accept. But a few days before flight, the agent indicated that there are no seats from Riyadh to Lahore and I have to go to Islamabad. This required only a 1.5 hours stay in Riyadh. I had to accept it.

On my flight day, a friend was driving to Frankfurt airport and he offered to take me along. I took the offer although I would have to spend a few extra hours at the airport but would avoid the hassle of train change etc. I asked the airport staff if there is an internet connection on the airport, but it was too expensive. Then I asked for a power plug to charge my laptop and they prompted me to use the plug they use for charging their airport transport vehicles. So there I laid down on a long rest seat watching the Matrix. It didn't seem like a good idea for me to watch a movie with heavy gun fights on such a location, but never mind. When I passed through the security check point, I was overconfident. The security door didn't like that and protested. So they ran their handy scanner over my body and it too kept the view of its bigger cousin. I took everything out of my pockets, but it kept on buzzing near my feet and on my legs. So the guy asked me to came aside and take off my shoes. Then he felt my whole socks and I admired his courage (or strong smell nerves) :) I had put some money in polythene and put in my socks, but he ignored it and let me go. During boarding, my hand carry was over-weight (on the confidence of their membership, whose card arrived only after my departure), so the lady said that I'll get in trouble at the boarding gate. So, i waited to go last in the gate and avoided her while boarding.

The plane from Frankfurt to Riyadh was a Boeing 777 with personalized on-seat entertainment system. And the plane from Riyadh to Islamabad was a Boeing 747 also with the entertainment system, but this one was not friends with the remote control and was working for hearing-disabled people :) They distributed menu choice lists on both flights. Food was German-style in first flight and Pakistani style in second flight. Riyadh airport is beautiful but is under development as a new World's second largest airport. They have a beautiful fountain in the middle. The 747 to Islamabad was jam-packed. From there I took a Daewoo inter-city Bus to Lahore.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I know I should have mentioned this a long time ago, but I would again blame laziness for this :) I wrote about my trip to Pakistan last September. btw, I got married in that trip :)

It is the beginning a whole new aspect of life. Although I only got "Nikkah-ed", still I feel somewhat different. Or at least I try to... When I returned to Germany, I attended a party where I had a chat with an Indian guy. During the chat I asked him if he was married. Upon his denial and back question, I also replied in negative. A few seconds later, I realized my mistake and uttered "yes, yes, yes, I am married". So, I have to feel that I am married. Marriage itself involved many processes. Deciding whom to invite and whom to postpone till walima. Then going to almost every home in Lahore to distribute the invitation cards. I had to sit formally with my wife for some hours on stage and it was difficult to find time to talk to her. Then came her sisters and cousins for the milk-drinking ritual, where they gave me and my wife some milk to drink and then demanded payment for that milk. A hefty 50k amount. We struck a deal of a much less amount. Services Club proved to be a good spacious hall for such a function attracting about a couple of hundred guests.