When I arrived in Hong Kong, emerging from China where I heard little
about the outside world and commincations was frightfully expensive
when it was available at all, a message was waiting.
Joe, a new young guy in the sales group had a college friend Kamal.
Seems Kamal had told his father in Karachi about Joe's new job and our company.
Kamal's father wanted to meet and discuss business and Kamal himself was
just leaving to go home to Karachi. So Joe had made arrangements for
me to fly to Karachi meet them.
I was to be in Bombay for week before I headed to Nairobi so they planned
for a quick trip up from there. Physically Pakistan is close but politcally
it is light years away. No way to get a Pakistani visa in India i'm
afraid. The story of getting my visa in Bangkok is another whole story
by itself. The puzzling thing was how did they get a flight arranged on such
My tickets met me in Bombay via DHL. By then I had been able to catch
up on world events. Upon opening the packet I began to realize why
there were seats available. Seems the Tamal Tigers had just blown up
an Air Lanka plane. And they had booked me on, you guessed it, Air
Lanka where there were plenty of seats available.. I got to the airport
early and was searched at the entrance. Seems every corner I turned someone
was searching me. I even had to identify my luggage after clearing immigration.
I finally got to the departure gate relieved to be done with all that.
The departure time came and went. Eventaully we were all summoned to
a doorway, but it was not the aircraft door. We all trooped down to
the tarmack where our luggage was sitting next to the airplane. As
we identified each piece of luggage it was taken away and loaded on the plane.
Finally we started to board, up a portable stairway at the rear of the plane.
By now it was past midnight, I was exhausted and could feel that I was getting
sick. Dragging my computer up the stairs I entered the aircraft and found
myself looking down the barrel of an Uzzi held by a rather fidgity soldier.
"Search you" he said. Sure, I said to myself, everyone else has, and
you've got the gun. After he finshed digging through every inch of
my briefcase, computer and body I was allowed to collapse in a seat.
After seven searchs and two luggage identifications we finally took off.
Kamal met me at the airport in Karachi and wanted to show me the town.
My body finally gave out the next morning and most of my visit was spent at the doctor's office or in bed.
Joe is no longer allowed to act as my travel agent.
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