Well, you would think that having gotten up at 7:00 am ET on the 6th and, at the most, slept for an hour for the whole trip which ended around 8:00 am on the 8th (about 10:00 pm on the 7th ET) in Islamabad I would go to bed. But no, my aunt, uncle, and I talked for some time and I emptied my bags.
Finally I was able to take a 1 hr nap before going to may meeting with the group that I was working with. Once that was over, we rushed back home to change into borrowed dress clothes (I was not expecting to go to a formal activity so did not pack formal wear) go to a “Film and Picture Festival” put on by one of the Embassies and which my aunt and uncle were invited to by the embassador. So I wanted to tag along too. It was fun and had some interesting foods.
To make it short. I was not in bed until 11:00 pm (1:00 pm ET). First real sleep in 52 hours.
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Well, I have arrived. The plane arriving in Pakistan was about a half hour late but, hey, just a start for the cultural experience.
Once at the aeroport I waited in line for passport control then waited for a visa which took a few minutes but not as long as I was expecting.
I crept carefully through the luggage pickup area, getting around the masses of people (two large planes had arrived at about the same time so the airport was packed) and avoiding the “skycaps” who are VERY helpful (this learned from experience of last years trip). The large amount of aid workers coming in helped since there was not enough “skycaps” to go around.
The bags were easy to get though it was a little harder to get out of the luggage pickup area and to the customs lines. Once there I was in some very long line of people waiting for one of the two luggage x-ray machines to check if there were any customable items that were not being declared. Interestingly, I was chosen and pulled out of the line and pushed out the door. That saved me further wait and possibly having to explain what was in my bags.
Was met at the door by my uncle and off we went through Islamabad which had not changed much since last time.
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This was pretty uneventful. We took off from London about 5:30 pm and once in the air I fell asleep but was awakened soon for some reason. I was probably thinking about the south Asian meal that normally is available on this flight and did not want to miss it.
Anyway, supper was very, very good. I think that this was probably one of the best aeroplane meals that I have ever had and, sorry to say, may be a close rival to my wife’s cooking. She has one advantage though, she makes dinner because she loves me.
Well, even though I had a very happy tummy and very little sleep, that nap was just enough to prevent sleep from coming. So I was up another eight hour flight. So I am exhausted.
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Leaving home was an experience but that is normal. Could have used one more day. Last minute packing and play time with the kids. Of course some tears (well actually a lot by some). We went out to eat and then I was dropped off at the bus. Then there was several hours on the bus and then at the airport.
I am now fully commited to my trip. It is about lunch time where I am and half way through my trip to Pakistan. Nothing to exciting happened yet but I think that the seats are shrinking in the aeroplanes. Every year cool, neat features are added but few help in the area of sleeping.
My first fight was not quite full so I had an empty seat next to me. While every one else was sleeping, I tried, too, but to no avail. This next flight (after a 5 hour layover) is another overnight flight, however, it is totally full. Have to be creative with the sleeping.
Interestingly, the flights are about the same times and have the same flight numbers that we had last year on our trip to Pakistan. That was a family trip so was quite interesting with kids. This time it is just me and it is quite a different experience.
I am going to find some good ol’ “fish n’ chips” for lunch. I’ll write more soon.
Here is a picture of a plane very similar to the ones that I am traveling on.
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