Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Things that i do on my last trip to Karachi

My Pakistan visa is expiring on 12th May 2014. After reviewing the matter which requires my inputs in Karachi with my former boss, I surprised myself by saying "YES" that I shall be attending to the discussions in Karachi. I estimated it would take only 2 days, hence the flight was confirmed as soon as green light was given by my present boss. We usually takes Emirates flight to Karachi which it's flight schedule greatly impacted my mood. It was due to a long transit while waiting for flights to the next sector. I chose 1930hours flight on Sunday afternoon to Dubai. After 7 hours and 10 minutes with traveling distance of 5618km, the Boeing B777-300 landed in Dubai at 2220 local times. The flight to Karachi took off at 0130 on the next Monday morning, 28th of May 2014 for a traveling distance of 1188km and a duration of 2 hours via Boeing 777-300ER.

The plane safely landed at 0430 in Jinnah International Airport. I was having an anxious feeling of returning home soon. For some reason coming to the city is no longer excites me. I guessed the time has come for me to detach myself from Karachi city that was once a home. It's nearly 7 years since the day I first landed, the day I mobilized, my countless yearly return trying to resolve the disputes. So, I told myself and everyone clearly that this would be my last trip to Karachi.

Wahid, the office boy waited at the arrival hall. Daim, our former drive who use to wait has gone at the end of 2013. I was not sad when he was removed as I have given my final blessing too. The new driver is quite a nice person, very composed to himself, therefore, I decided to put a distance. We went straight to the office. After a shower and Fajr prayer, I went to bed till 9.30am, Karachi time.

Wahid in Rabi Centre
From 9.30am till 5.30pm, we were working non-stop. We stopped only for my favorite "Beef Pulao" lunch takes away from United Restaurant in Bahadurabad. Lucky that Wahid knows where to get it from. I was so happy with the lunch. Sajid gave me PKR5 thousand in case I need to spend anything that night. But I did not started my shopping list, rather I took below photos so that my girlfriends (7 of them) from the head quarters would be able to chose which color of the chiffon embroider material that they may want me to buy. The pictures was immediately on the "IJM Shopaholics" whatsapp group. Wahid went with me. The driver waited at the parking lot of Rabi Centre, located adjacent to the Dolmen Mall of Tariq Road.

Nurul, Eila and Ili's choice
Later in the evening I informed the driver that he has to take me to the Malaysian house. Sajid showed him the direction via google map. I was lucky that the Consulate General has invited me to stay at their official residence, a Malaysian House located in Khayaban-e-Shamseer (Phase 8, Defense Housing). After Jama' the 2 maghrib and Isya' prayer, I headed to their house. Humyra, their lovely daughter was with her lovely mother, Hidia receiving me.

Beautiful Humyra
The next morning, after having coffee with Hidia and her husband, I went to work quite early, 8am since I wanted to get around the city, taking photo using my Iphone to record physical changes in Karachi, especially places that we used to visit. After few snapped at the Clifton Beach and Dolmen City Tower, I was surprised to see that the "Aik Talwar" has gone from it's trade mark, in front of Abdullah Shah Gazi. The area has been excavated for the proposed flyover in front of the ongoing Bahria Tower construction adjacent to Park Tower. Passing by the "Do Talwar", I snapped the Ocean Mall (used to be Soffitel Tower) from where I stand at Emerald Mall. These 2 (Dolmen City, Emerald and Ocean) malls were not existed those days.

We continued some shots during the journey to the office, till we reached Gloria Jeans coffee cafe. I stopped to take away some heavy brunch to keep my energy running strong for 2nd day of work assignment.

Good breakfast is available in Gloria Jeans Cafe
After lunch, I went out quickly to grab the first 6 pieces embroidery materials for the ladies. The ladies and I went bonkers as it was a life online shopping when the shop that I went had offered their wifi services. All of us went "OMG, OMG, OMG… it's crazy stuff down there at the market bla bla bla...

My girlfriends would be surprised that this is the shop that I went to get their materials from
I cannot blame them as those embroidery chiffon are all very beautiful in colors and the designs as shown in below photo. A lot of them unable to decide, so, for those who cannot I took that right from them. Back in the office, the working team agreed that I have to extend my stay as there's yet so much works to be reconciled. I made necessary arrangement to get my flight ticket change from Thursday to Saturday. The ladies are overjoyed with the news. It means more time for shopping.

Some of the purchase on 29th May 2014
For dinner on the 2nd night, the Consulate General and the wife planned for dinner at the Ocean Mall since I was planning to visit some of the local designers shop, i.e. Gul Ahmed and Khaadi. When I was about to check the things at Gul Ahmed, they arrived and decided to have dinner in Baan Thai located on the 3rd floor of the mall. It was a great dinner with a great companion. I started to enjoy my stay in Karachi. I found chemistry with Hidia. I decided to keep her in my good book. We should be friends for life.

My working lunch in the office, Beef Pulao, Nihari & Naan, Chicken Tikka & Chicken rolls
On day 3, I was happy to see that my flight ticket has been officially changed to Saturday. We continued to work in a more relaxed situation. It was great to have Naan and Nihari for lunch that day. After working so hard, I took off to get the balance material from the Rabbi Centre at 5pm. After returning to office and performed prayers, I went to Wednesday Bazaar and dropped at Kazmi's residence for dinner. It was nice to have a home cooked capati resulting me I arrived very late in CG's residence that night. We went to the back courtyard of their house having a coffee midnight party. As tomorrow is a Labor Day, we went to bed late and I had asked Wahid to fetched me at 11.30 am.

Late Jinnah's residence in Sharah-e-Faisal
On labor day, we went for brunch at Xander's as I was craving for salmons sandwich that was posted sometimes ago in CG's Instagram. I really had a great time at the restaurant, and told myself that I must revisit before my return. After breakfast, the driver dropped Hidia and myself at the Dolmen Tower to do some shopping. I went to work thereafter until the strikes was declared by the ruling party, MQM arising from the death of 4 of his members and 2 people were missing in action. They left at 5pm whilst I took my leave half an hour later. On the way back, I took few photos along the shara-e-faisal road to Defense. It was a memorable day as I managed to take below photo of the Frere Hall with me in the photo. The place becoming a public accessible area after US Embassy had shifted out from the area. I waited 7 years to have my picture with the Frere Hall, a real blessed day for me, in a new long Kurti and new scarf from Gul Ahmed.

With the Frere Hall
The next day, I was working only with my office colleague as the rest informed that the city was not safe to travel. Schools, offices, petrol station were all closed with no public transportation was operating. Most of them were supporting MQM for the strikes. I was lucky that my lunch at Kazmi was on, else, I didn't know here to get food that day. The lunch was heaven but I made both Kazmi and myself saddened when I informed him that I have no desire to coming back. It's time to say my farewell to the city. My last prayer in the office was quite miserable too as I seek forgiveness from Allah for hurting so many peoples with my "temper management issue" those days. I was very bossy and demanding but only I know that I have change in recent months. Especially when my beloved best friend died from the leukemia.

Lunch at Kazmi's office
As I was early when I reached Hidia's house, we decided to go for a last minute shopping as all shops will still not open the next day. We went to Dolmen Tower and managed to shop all my irresistible items including the beautiful purple dress in below photo. I was very lucky for the opportunity. We bought a simple dinner home while celebrating Harith 2 year old birthday. 

This lady is God-sent, thank you Hidia
What a lucky time to be with Harith on his birthday. After the cut cutting ceremony and simple diner, Hidia quickly cooked a Crab Soup for me. We both had enjoyed our last night together with the foods and the her clothing line.

How time flies, he was about 2 weeks old when I first met him

Crab's soup specially made by Hidia for me
The next morning, Aliaa has made me a cup of Espresso which I chose to enjoy in my room while trying to update my blog. Blog can wait, I ended up wasting time viewing stuff which have no dates line. Sigh, must have more discipline as I have so much outstanding things to do back home, the ex-UITM reunion, the Law classes and revisions etc etc.

3 of us headed to Xander's to satisfy my crave for Egg Benedict. Breakfast was wonderful as we ordered iced coffee that morning.  Back to the house, I said my farewell knowing very well that we shall see each other again in the near future. I left to Airport around 11.10 in the morning. With 45 minutes we reached the airport and the heavy luggage for 35.5kg was well received by Emirates.

At Xander's with Hidia

Jinnah International Airport, on the walk to the boarding hall
As the flight took off at 2.30pm. I had mama' the 2 prayers Zohor and Asar at the boarding hall. Performing an obligatory prayer is very much convenience as I learned to carry only socks and short prayer cloth to properly cover my head and ensure that I wore a long sleeve shirts/blouse during travels. It became the new traveling attire.

My short prayer cloth purchased from Bandung

Photo at Boarding Hall book shop is a must
Emirates has granted me a room in Arabian Park Hotel which I get printed during check in at Jinnah Airport. A stay and the rest after was worth rewarding as I was fresh with 2 hours sleep and a shower for the next morning flight to Kuala Lumpur. Dinner was provided in the hotel from 6pm till midnight. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday afternoon being stopped by the Immigration Office who was polite enough asking me to pay taxes for the 2nd cartoon of Blue Dunhill that I purchased for hubby. Alhamdulillah, I should learned a lesson for the next trip. 

View from Arabian Park Hotel provided by Emirates
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