The company decided that we would make a trip to Pakistan on an urgent basis. It was either via SQ (to Lahore) or Thai Airways (to Islamabad). Since we had to head to Islamabad, Thai Air was the natural choice. Given the longer hours, we had the privilege to fly Business Class. Woo Hoo! But I was later told that the Business Class of Thai Airways is rather nominal. As it was not a direct flight, we had to transit in Thailand (Bangkok). If only we had some time to shop around in Thai. Hee.
Just before the trip, I heard quite a bit about the suicide bombings in the major cities of Pakistan. Upon thinking back, it was actually quite a "garang" decision to move on with the trip given the security and safety issues. Although I hesitated, am actually very glad I was there! Its quite an experience.
When we alighted at the airport, it was a lil intimidating as there were so many airport staff hovering near the immigration and luggage segment. *shudder*
In order to be safe (from the bombings), we decided to stay away from US hotel chains... esp the Marriott! We eventually checked out Serena Hotels - one that is operated by the locals. That should be a safer option we thought. To safeguard the interests of the guests, the hotel is heavily fortified: All the cars have to stop at the entrance of the hotel for a security check. Upon entering, we had to exit from the car alongside with the luggage. We hopped on another car (to drive us up the ramp) driven by another driver. Upon entering the hotel, it is another round of checks! We were greeted with a fresh mug of fresh mango juice! My fav!
The food items are kind of exotic and spicy! I was more conservative lest I have the runs again. I also love the citrus sparkling juice from the breakfast place.
On a day to day basis, we read of gloomy deadlines, ranging from bombings, attacks etc. The people are constantly in fear.
On the return trip, we need to stop over in Thailand for a night. But, we practically checked our luggages from Pakistan through to the flight to Singapore. As such, we did not have any luggage at all, other than the laptop bags. From this incident, I realized how important it is to have change of clothing in the hand carry.
The stay was at Metropolitan Hotel - a cool boutique style hotel. It was nothing but neat! Besides being spacious, the facilities are all swanky new.
As we had to catch the morning flight, I had the chance to order Breakfast. Was really quite a feast at 5+ in the morning, with a full set meal, hot chocolate and tea! =)