Next morning, we had the buffet breakfast at the hotel. The menu included murgh channa, mixed vegies, omelet, bread, butter, jam, paratha, and tea. They also served fried egg on request. At 8:00AM we were on the road and our first destination was? I think you guessed it right—McDonalds Pano Aqil. We reached there at 9:35AM but to my kids’ dismay, it still had 25 minutes to open. I urged them to not waste any time and continue our journey to which they comply.
From then on we travelled non-stop to Kazi Ahmed and stopped at the same Byco fuel station on the opposite side of the road, for which I did not have to go far as there was a U turn right next to it.
We got refreshed, some willingly some unwillingly and then proceeded to have lunch at the adjacent Bismillah Hotel. I asked the waiter to bring Aaloo Palak, Biryani, which was looking more like Biryani than the pulao near Bahawalpur and Chicken Fry. The guy said
چکن فرائ نہیں ہے
میں نے پوچھا پھر اور کیا ہے کھانے میں؟
کہنے لگا مرغی فرائ ہے
اس سے پہلے کہ وہ مزید کھانوں کا بتاتا، میں نے پھرتی سے کہا مرغی فرائ لے آؤ
بچے اس واقعے سے کافی محظوظ بھی ہوۓ اور حیران بھی کہ چکن تو اتنا عام استعمال کا لفظ ہے اور انہیں یہ بھی نہیں پتہ۔
I told them that this is the case with majority of Pakistanis and there is nothing wrong in it. We have to accept it and act accordingly. Then they asked me
اب آپ کولڈ ڈرنک نہیں کہیے گا، بوتل یا ٹھنڈی بوتل کہیے گا
So I’m happy that they learnt fast.
Post lunch we started our journey back home without any more stoppages and cruised until Hyderabad which was a bit crowded for two reasons, first the road repairs and then the bottle neck at the bridge on River Indus, not because of anything else but the unnecessary extra lanes of those who want a shortcut to overtake others. One thing I don’t understand is that why they take the toll tax at Jamshoro while going to Karachi from those who intend to use M-9? I mean they can easily shift the toll gates 50-meters ahead on the left curve that goes towards Kotri on the way to Karachi via Thatta. So in a way we pay to utilize 50-100 meters of N-5 and again pay toll for M-9.
Anyways, we were back home at 5:30PM al hamd o lillah and the trip that was planned in a haste ended safely and without any negative incidents. The idea behind the road trip with the family was to show the kids how beautiful Pakistan is, to actually see what they have only read in books, but also to expose them with the experiences that only travelling can give such as discipline, punctuality, improvisations, trade-offs etc. I’m happy that they have coped with the situations quite nicely and hopefully will become good citizens and human beings.
One thing that needs to be mindful of is the energy levels of the kids, while they were quite excited going up, they were lethargic and bored to their bones for the large part of journey back.
I tried to keep them interested by telling the specialties of different towns, their right pronunciations, the famous monuments etc but only that I knew of so that their interest levels are intact. They were happy to use Snapchat/Instagram and let their friends know of their experiences along the way, and also had their playlist on the stereo.
Total travelling time 9.5 hours (Driving 8.5 hours PLUS 1.0 hour of stopovers in between).
Distance covered: 615km approx
8:00AM from Midway Hotel, Sadiqabad
5:30PM Millennium Mall Karachi
Thank you for reading and I’ll appreciate your feedback on the trip report.