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.