Our two-day stay in Istanbul was soon over and on 7th May, we caught the thirteen hour noon Turkish Airline flight for LA International Airport.

We took a taxi from the hotel for the airport at 10am and on reaching the terminal, we were wheeled through custom and immigration and into the Business Club lounge, waiting for the flight to leave. We left on time and were soon buckled in, ready for take-off. The thirteen hour flight to LA International Airport was, as usual, tedious and boring. After take-off, we gulped down a couple of glasses of Bordeaux, took a sleeping tablet and soon fell asleep while listening to cool jazz.

We landed at LA at 5pm and were soon wheeled through customs and immigration without any problem and were out within no time. The immigration officer gave us six month visa. Demanding a wheelchair helps us to avoid long queues at immigration counters and we are wheeled through immediately.

We picked up our baggage and Zia was there to pick us up. We were soon on our way for the two hour drive to San Diego and their new home, located in Carlsbad, a suburb of SD.

By the time we reached home, the boys had gone to bed, because they had school in the morning, but Azmaira was there to greet us. After hugs and kisses, we had a quick dinner and went to bed, as we were exhausted. 

We got up late, had breakfast and waited for Sukhi and Dhuki Ram to come home. However, they were no longer the Rams of the past and had grown up to tall, lanky young teenagers, full of confidence and self assurance. It was good to see them again and happy to realize that these grandchildren of ours would soon be young men, going to college and university. However, both the boys had retained their original habits. Rafay was interactive and social and fond of horse riding, while Zafir, the eldest was into computers and fishing.

Azmaira’s new house was beautiful, with a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, surrounded by tall trees, and a lovely sun deck, which over looked the garden. The next six weeks were spent hanging out with the boys, swimming and sitting in the Jacuzzi, going out for lunches and dinners to the numerous restaurants in SD and generally chilling out.

Time flew past in no time and though we had wanted to stay longer, but unfortunately we had brought medicines for only two months. We tried to bring extra medicine from Karachi through DHL, but the American custom refused to release them and they had to be sent back. The weather in SD during our stay was mostly sunny and warm, with a clear blue sky, without a cloud in sight. However, there were a few days, when it was chilly and the skies were overcast, with a light drizzle. 

Sadly, our six weeks in SD were soon over and after spending time with Azmaira, Zia and the kids, it was time for us to come home. So we caught the thirteen hours Turkish Airline flight at six pm from LA on Tuesday 20th June, with a three hour stopover in Istanbul.

We took a limousine to the airport, as it was a working day and both Zia and Azmaira were busy at work. So after nostalgic hugs and kisses, we bid farewell to the family and were on our way to the two hour drive to the LA Airport at 1pm. We reached the terminal at 4pm and were soon wheeled through custom and immigration in no time and into the Business Class lounge and wait for the flight to leave.

The flight left on time, but once again the thirteen hour flight to Istanbul was long and boring, but the three hour stop-over helped us to stretch out and relax. We had a quick meal in the lounge and then it was time to leave for our six hour flight to Karachi.

We tried to sleep on the plane, but despite the sleeping tablet, were unable to settle down and kept twisting and turning, waiting to for the flight to land at the Jinnah International Airport. Finally, the flight landed at 4am Karachi time, and we were soon wheeled through immigration and customs and our protocol officer was there to meet us.

We picked up our four bags, loaded them into the car and were soon on our way home. The streets were quiet and deserted and within no time, we reached home, where Omer, Geeta and Bonzo, our Golden Retriever were there to greet us.      

Geeta had also gone home to Sri Lanka to visit her family while we were away and had returned a week before us, so that she could open the house and keep it ready for our return.

We were totally exhausted after almost 24 hours of travelling and ready to go to sleep, but it was good to be back. During our absence, my office had kept me updated on the activities in Karachi, especially relating to Consumer Protection Courts, something that Helpline Trust has been demanding for the last several years, but more on that next week.

(trust@helplinetrust.org.pk)