My daughter recently told me to write a post on my travels abroad as a PIA crew member, instead of the politics I keep churning out. So here it is, my confessions: In my travels quite a while ago, I didn’t have any problem moving on foot at leisure in:
⦁ Amsterdam: sightseeing in red light areas in cities for the fun of it with crew in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul
.⦁ Athens: heat in the summer, siesta time, Ommonia Square, jogging in the first Olympic Stadium
⦁ Buenos Aires
⦁ Beijing: I saw it grow up from the Friendship Store to beyond. The Great Wall, the Circus, the Zoo, the heat in summer
⦁ Cairo: belly dancing in original in Cairo near the Pyramids.⦁ Dar es-Salaam: plastic water bottles were given on arrival and cautioned not to drink from anywhere else
⦁ Damascus: visited holy sites in Damascus, the Umayyad Mosque, visited the first muezzin’s tomb, Bilal, Abu Huraira’s tomb in the Main Market; climbed the mountain to see the “Seven Sleeper’s Cave”.
⦁ Frankfurt: Goethe Museum
⦁ Houston: the unbearable heat, hot and humid⦁ Hong Kong: where you got dirty looks if you didn’t buy anything from a shop.⦁ Istanbul : saw Saladin’s tomb in Istanbul, St. Sophia, the Bosphorus, Top Kapi Museum⦁ Jeddah: I also visited Mecca twice for “Umrah” at PIA’s expense during my visits
⦁ Kuala Lumpur
⦁ London UK: walking to Oxford Street from Kensington High Street where our hotel, the Royal Garden was situated. On the 747 it was a fortnightly affair, the trip to London
⦁ Los Angeles
⦁ Mombasa: and its unreal villas at the beaches and white sand
⦁ Nairobi: certain areas to be avoided after sunset
⦁ New York: Times Square, The Grand Central Station, Fifth Avenue, the Penn Station below our hotel, the Statler Hilton, on 32nd Street and 7th Avenue
⦁ Newburgh New York: our freighter operations⦁ Paris: got tired of seeing the Eiffel Tower, walking on the Champs, the Arc de Triomphe. It was a stone’s throw from our five star hotel on the Seine. Visited the Louvre.
⦁ Singapore: our captain really tested the boobs of a guy/girl by putting his hands inside the dress? visited the famous Bugis Street
.⦁ Tehran: visited the Caspian Sea area across the Zagros mountains
⦁ Tokyo: watched Mikado in Ginza.
I made the mistake of discussing this at home once the various outings in the cities during work. I never repeated that after that first attempt. It was one of the best jobs a young man grew up in. The departures in the morning had to be respected and alcoholic companions cautioned of the 8 hour limit. PIA paid for the five star hotel, the daily allowance in local currency , what more did a guy want!?I had the opportunity to take my wife and son to Singapore when I was flying as captain on that flight, another son on a trip to Beijing and Tokyo in likewise manner. It felt great. So, you can see the varied inputs here, religious and festive. But it took a heavy toll on your health and with the domestic life and children at home. The schedules were killing, on reflection we flew mostly at night, to meet the opening of airports in Europe during the morning, upsetting our body clock time and again, when everybody slept crossing time zones. People took to drink to handle the stress. A captain once told me when I was getting in the PIA transport which had come to pick me and my son was burning with fever, it is one the hazards of the profession