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  • Writer's pictureVoita

On the brink of departure

I was hoping to meet Sohail one more time, as he was also flying out on Saturday to Nepal, to continue his licence training. Had he been able to fly direct over Ladakh, it'd be two to three hours of flight time. In our world, he flies that long south to Karachi, then to Dubai and from there, sneakily switching airlines, back. Does that make any sense?

all I've seen from Sunday

I shouldn't have been surprised that he was late and had no time. Looking back, I spent good half of the year below the mountains by waiting and maybe 1 in 5 plans I arranged with someone worked out. A bike and independence are worth their weight in gold to a traveller here. South of Europe, spanish timeliness, italian knack for planning, greek reliability are a pinnacle of civilisation in comparison. It'll be a generation or two here still, before things change.

All the glory to the brave few exceptions well capable already, well ahead of their time.

all I've seen from Monday

I spent the morning waiting for Sohail, and the afternoon waiting for Ehsen. What a great way to slack away the Sunday. In the shopping mall where I was hiding I was considered a piece of furniture by the evening. And later at night the security started carefully approaching me if I need any help...

Ehsen lives on the outskirts of the city, meaning the time came at last to meet him, nobody wanted to give me a ride. All drivers were excited to chat and had me answer the usual run of the mill of questions, only to apologetically share that they won't go that far. And I started all over by the next bike...

speeding to the airport

I devoted Monday to idly recovering from Sunday's idling. I couldn't bring myself to ride downtown to stream, to go back, to drive to the airport...

And I was, somewhat desperately, messaging to people in Riyadh; my arranged couch has the owner revoked last minute and hotels start at $60 a night. I could stay for a week in Islamabad at the same price.

entrance

In first turn of luck in the last two months I actually found somebody willing to put me up for a night after arriving tomorrow. And as a bonus he signed me up for a free, state organized tour of the Saudi Arabian capital. No time to get bored.

as on the outside ... so on the inside

Riyadh and Islamabad both have their airports some 30 miles out of the city. Right in the local style I was coming in hot, and very last minute. Ehsen is perpetually busy; a blessing and a curse.

It didn't matter as I still had to wait for the check-in terminals to boot up. That gave me a great opportunity to let my thoughts wander back to winter when we came in at midnight with Miky and Juraj, buying last minute flights up north. That was quite a different adventure...

quiet past the security check

Except for the broken machines I was through in ten minutes. Nobody wanted to believe that an inked-in handful of hieroglyphs indeed is valid visa for Saudi Arabia. The worst 'we don't care' visa out there.

Hopefully at least after landing someone will be willing to trust in their genuineness.

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