|My Sheraton Hotel Room|
Ok, so my travel to Pakistan doesn't really fall into the category of posh but cheap travel, but still it's something worth blogging about. Never in a million years did I imagine going to Pakistan. As open as I am to travel every corner of the world, I have never dreamt of going there. With all the things that had just recently happened there, and still happening right now; I don't think any traveler would want to visit that place.
So how did I end up there? Well, I had no choice. My company assigned me to handle the Middle East process, and was assigned to go there to have face-to-face engagements with the stakeholders. First thing that came to my mind when I got the email that I would go there is "I'm scurred"(scared hahaha). My office mates were very supportive, saying comforting words such as "we don't need your pasalubongs, we just need you to come back in one piece". Even one of the bosses joke me to bring an Armalite and wear a bullet-proof vest, how comforting hahaha.
Since we are allowed to plan out our itinerary ourselves, I had to take the opportunity to ride one of the best airlines, the Emirates Airlines. Since my flight would take longer than 2 hours, company policy dictates that we book business class for safety and health reasons. Woohoo! Business class for the first time, and it would be in Emirates. Sweet. I booked my accommodation in Sheraton Hotel which is one of the best hotels there.
My flight consisted of about 10 hours, 8 hours to Dubai, and another 2 hours going to Karachi. I left Manila Saturday evening. I had a little episode with the Immigration officer since he was asking me about my purpose there. I told him that I would be there for business, so he asked my company ID. The thing is, our company ID is not exactly an official ID since it only has our name and photo, without any company logo whatsoever. It's more like a smart card to be used in our computer. So I showed him my invitation letter from the company, which is out of date since my visit was moved to a later date, and the date indicated in the letter was the original date. I explained to him that the original date was postponed and I was not able to obtain an updated letter. Anyway, he did let me go afterwards. I guess he was just concerned of what a kid-looking girl like me would do there. I wanted to tell him if I have a choice, I wouldn't go there. Haha. So I was able to pass the immigration, and now I would have just to wait for my boarding.
It was very comfortable as it can get in the business class. The seats can be reclined as much as a bed, and everything was very spacious. Each has its own screen where one could watch series and movies. The flight attendants address our every needs. So after about 8 hours of flying, we finally came to Dubai. I am really excited to check out the Dubai Airport since it's one of the best airports in the world. The Dubai Airport is huge, with its own mini shopping mall inside. Every thing is state of the art and modern. I checked out some of the shops so I would be familiar with it when I came back there on my return flight since I'm planning to go shopping then.
After about a 3-hour stopover in Dubai, it was time for me to fly to Karachi, Pakistan. I was still flying with Emirates. Their business class is not as beautiful as my first flight, but I guess this is because the flight is only for 2 hours. Finally, at almost 12 noon on Sunday, I arrived at Karachi Airport. The Karachi Airport is more like the Manila Airport, it's not so modern and not so big.
There's a 3 hour difference between Karachi and Manila. Upon my arrival at the airport, a protocol officer from my company was waiting for me. I wasn't expecting someone would be waiting and assisting me, but I was quite relief that someone was there to accompany me with the immigration officer. I actually arranged with Sheraton hotel to send someone to pick me up but turns out I have a company driver to pick me up.
So I rode with the company driver to my hotel. Karachi is much like Manila, not Makati, but Manila; with the busy dusty streets swarming with people. After about 20 minute ride, we finally arrived at Sheraton Hotel. The security was very tight, I actually got a little bit scared of their guards. They are like hardcore Middle Eastern looking, with the mustache and all, wearing bullet-proof vest and long Armalite rifles. After checking in at the concierge, I was brought to my room. My room is beautiful; it has queen size bed, a table and computer chair to work on, a television with cable, and a bathroom with a bathtub. The only downside of it is the balcony area is covered with net. I'm not sure if it's for security purpose, or just to keep away the big black birds that loom around the sky. I asked my driver what type of birds they are, and he said they're falcons. Well, to me they look like black crows, and they really creep me out. Continue reading here.