We were welcomed whole heartedly by the couple in their artsy house at Cavalry Ground; a house in which the walls are covered with so many paintings that you can barely make out the pattern of the wall cloth behind them. This eccentricity is owed to Huma’s father and mother in law who are both avid art collectors.
Huma, a petite and chirpy workingwoman was more than keen to discuss her trip with us.
The Nation: So Huma, how did this trip happen and where did you go?
The trip was sponsored by the Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) Rewards Club who contacted me shortly after my album became viral on Facebook. The made us exclusive members of their Rewards Club and gifted us 1 million points. We went to Turkey (which was unplanned) then Spain, France, Portugal and Italy.
How did your trip begin?
Huma: Our trip didn’t start off so well to be honest, we were stuck at Lahore airport for about 12 hours because of the fog before we took off. The CAA kept the airport packed with passengers without informing them when flights would continue taking off, so that was quite a put off and that also messed up the schedule for our later flights.
So what happened after that?
Well when we reached Istanbul they told us that our flight was the next day and that we should get an E-Visa to visit Turkey. The only way to do that was via credit card. Now for some reason our credit card wasn’t working and the staff at Istanbul airport weren’t accepting cash with the exception of Euros. Eventually someone agreed to use their credit card for our visa with the condition that we had to pay extra 20 Euros, which we had no problem with considering how exhausted we were by that time.
Now tell us the fun part.
Turkey was fun once we exited the airport. We had dinner, went to our hotel and slept. The next day we took our flight to Spain. When we landed in Barcelona, I suspected something unexpected would happen here as well, I guess its just something that you feel with a green (Pakistani) passport, you feel you’re guilty of something you haven’t done with they way you’re generally treated at airports.
But then events took a strange turn when we finally reached the immigration officer who sternly asked me, “Pakistan?”, I said, “yes”, and him “Huma?”, and me “yes that’s my name”, and then he said “Kya haal hain aapke?”, I was speechless for a good 5 seconds. It felt so nice to have a foreigner greet you in your own language. From then on, our trip went very well.
Did anything interesting happen?
A lot of interesting things did happen but one of the things that stood out was how the receptionist at Legrand International in Paris recognized me and greeted Arsalan and me. They upgraded our room, and since it was our anniversary that day, they even arranged for a free anniversary dinner. Another time, we were in an Uber and once again we were having trouble with our credit cards, so I made a snap story of the situation and one of my followers, who happened to be an employee at Uber not only cleared our dues but also filled in some extra credit for us.
It was also really nice how my snapchat followers would follow my snap stories and constantly suggest places we should visit.
Anything else you would like to say about your trip?
I think it was really amazing how IHG picked up something that went viral (in this case Huma’s album) and cashed in on it. It was a win for both parties and I, being a part of it, think that is something that’s lacking in our ad industry. Take the Chai wala buzz for example, none of the tea producers cashed in on him and eventually his buzz crashed and burned. With me I’m really glad the viral buzz completed a full circle with me actually getting to go on another honeymoon, this time with my husband.
Thank you, Huma.