"One who is free to sin, sins less; the very power weakens the seeds of sin"
My Srilankan Airlines flight from Bangkok finally arrives in Karachi’s Quaid-E-Azam Airport. Having connecting flight in Colombo before reaching Karachi makes my flight a bit longer, 3 hours 50 minutes. On my Karachi flight, not surprisingly, is occupied by all Pakistanis but me at the first time I see into the aircraft, I am feeling I am the only non-Pakistani onboard. In aircraft, the announcement is made in both Sinhala and English, not Urdu.
Above the cloud, I see the area where is like desert area, very dry and covered with dusts with typical desert houses I saw in the movies and book. I am feeling that I am in the dream to see this to happen to me. The distant view from the cloud is so fascinating to me. The houses with flat rooftop is so different with I have in Indonesia.
|Enjoying Bollywood Movie onboard|
The aircraft is about to arrive. The flight attendant announces that taking picture and video in the airport is prohibited because there was terrorist attack in airport a week before done by Taliban in this airport with more than 20 death tolls including the terrorists. This accident was about to scare me to come to Pakistan. The news broadcasted that the attack was very bad, however it is not that bad as the news said I think.
I arrive in Quaid-E-Azam Airport. The occupancy of the aircraft is almost full. As the only flight from Colombo with extensive network especially from East and Southeast Asia, Srilankan Airlines makes big profit I think. I proceed to the immigration check, and I am in the foreigner line. There are two lines for foreigner and two or three For Pakistani. My flight is the only flight arriving in that time, so the queue is not that long. As I expected, there are about six foreign passport holders, and physically five of them are Pakistani and I am the only Asian look. Although it is not many people to check, the immigration staffs work very slowly, I don’t mind about it actually. It takes about 5-10 minutes to clear the immigration for each (in foreigner line, I don’t think it happens in local line). Finally my turn, as I am the last, I am proceeding to the immigration staff, he opens my passport back and forth and also still he interviews me about what I will do, what I am doing in Indonesia, Who is my father, my friends, many things. However, I can feel the warmth and friendliness from him although he has moustache, big moustache as in the Bollywood movie, with big body, very intimidated. In another lane, there is two middle age ladies from UK, who is originally from Karachi, are interviewed too. But they two chill out answering the questions, but I am a bit stressed and sweating, and I am pretending it is hot although it is air-conditioned.
As I am done with Immigration clearance, I decide to go to washroom. They strictly separate the gender washroom, a bit further to each other. The washroom is not that good for international airport. It is clean but smells a bit bad. Along the way to the baggage claim, there are hundreds of soldiers in the airport. I think they are here for securing the airport after the attack, eventually I find out that they will be sent to North Waziristan for Militant Operation to combat the terrorist living in that tribal province. Oh I am feeling the condition of Pakistan is getting hotter, not only the temperature but also the security issue. I am stressed more and more.
I claim my baggage and give the tag to the staff asking for this. I venture to exit gate. The heat strikes me right away. I am feeling this is super hot. Many people waiting for their relatives brings the name of the respective people, but I am waiting for my friend from couchsurfing to come bringing the name, as I do want to have somebody brought my name in airport.
As nobody brings my name tag, I go to ATM to withdraw money. I am cashless, rupee-less and I need money. Along the way to reach ATM, Many taxi drivers offer me the ride to go to city.
“Chinese? Korean? Japanese?” Asked by the drivers
I just reply smiling, I am busy with the heat as I am not customized yet. I found the ATM in the corner, another surprised thing, the ATM doesn’t work, and it is out of cash. Suddenly two guys come to me.
“the ATM doesn’t work, dude! You have no cash, no? you know, this is Pakistan” said by one of them with very cool English, copying as American rapper accent.
Another smile for me.
“are you Chinese?” asked by him again
“Indonesian, dude!” I replied
“Oh Muslim Brother, welcome to Pakistan! Are you working here?”
“Syukriya, thank you! No I am traveling.” I leave the conversation as I need to find Muzzamil, my Cuchsurfing host. I am kind of dressing uncomfortably. I wear short pants, very shot above my knee, I am feeling I misfit with the condition there. As some young guys stare at me and come approaching, trying to ask me if I need help. I see the friendliness again here. However I still need to contact Muzzamil as I am lost in this airport. I see from distance the guy waiting for somebody and busy using phone. I immediately come approaching him and ask for help to use for texting Muzzamil. He just gives his phone to me with no auspicious as his relatives come and he needs to greet them, he just tells me to use the phone and he will take it later. I am super happy and can’t believe people so this nice. I use it and know that Muzzamil is on the parking lot to come to arrival hall, as I finish using the phone, I surrender it to its owner and he just gives smile to me as I thank to him.
During my await to muzzamil, I wait next to airlines counter. I am waiting about 5 minutes then muzzamil arrives and we just introduce each other.
So I know Muzzamil from Couchsurfing and we keep in touch since about two weeks before my departure to Karachi. He is about 30 years old but he looks young as he looks more Indonesian than Pakistani. He doesn’t have firm look and straight sight as Pakistanis have. He is very nice and helpful.
Muzzamil wears Srilankan shirt as he just went there and he knows I was in sri lanka before. He is a bit taller than me and obviously physically bigger than me. He wears long pants, I think it is jeans if I am not mistaken. We walk to parking lot to reach his car. I just realized this is Pakistan. The cars here are mostly low maintained. Muzzamil brings his small car, it is a bit dirty and it seems like the dust of the city makes muzzamil not to wash it as it will be no use because it is going to be dirty again right away. I sit in the front with him. He drives smoothly against the airport and he asks me to snap some pictures of airport from distance as I can’t click inside.
We talk a lot during our way home. I tell about the pre-journey to reach Pakistan, the sticks and stones. He tells me about his family and the place that I will stay for few days later.
|Karachi from above|
We pass the road, and IT IS HOT even for Muzzamil. The road looks very dry, it is like there is no rain for years. The dusts cover the street and the trees. Along the street people wear shalwar qamiz,traditional dress for Pakistan, North India, and Afghanistan. All covers their face from the dust. Fortunately muzzamil’s car is installed with air condition.
I am so surprised with the lives along the way back home. And I see the chonsa, Pakistan mango which is very famous for its amazing taste and I am in the right season, because summer means mango season in Pakistan. The road is empty with cars, only few cars and CNG Rickshaw pass by. I think that it is not Karachi as I heard before. Actually is it sort of out of the city. Few buildings and houses along the way make me so surprise at first.
|Exit From Airport|
It takes about 30 minutes to reach Muzzamil’s home. And the journey starts from here.