My family is a family of seasoned road trippers. We’ve lived out of boxes all our lives so a few days on the road doesn’t faze us. The earliest road trips I remember are from when I was around 7 or 8 when my parents would bundle the three of us in our hideously green omni van and go to the India’s famous northeastern vacation spot- Darjeeling. The rickety metallic contraption on four wheels has seen the three of us attempt to be gymnasts on its crumb speckled seats, its boot has been filled with my umma’s tasty road trip snacks and meals, and its derriere has been the recipient of many a push from friends and strangers alike when we were stranded in random places.
Fast forward 10 yrs, we are broody teens and older but still energetic parents, in a relatively better car, whizzing by scenic Italian towns, searching for Indian restaurant in Rome, and losing my brother in Florence for a few hours (a long story that has its own blog post)
Fast forward another ten years (almost) and it’s my husband and me taking my parents (and baby Z of course) to Makkah and Madina in OUR CAR (What a spectacularly grown up thing it is to be able to own a car).
I can’t help but resort to the best time related cliché out there- time flies. In our case it also meanders at places, stopping for pazham pori and chaya occasionally.
Let’s come back to our most recent road trip- from Riyadh to Madina to Makkah and back- a 2000+ km long journey. I had no doubt that it would be memorable like all other road trips we have been on. The Fazals have a knack of making any long trip enjoyable. It’s mostly with the aid of a generous amount of food (of the junk and restaurant variety), a lot of lame jokes, and the inadvertent dangerous situation we manage to put ourselves in and are eventually saved from by the mercy of God. My husband is chronically afflicted with the dire disorder that is overplanning a trip. We are talking hotel bookings month in advance, googling the heck out of the destination so that he’s more aware of all the nooks and crannies of it than the town planners themselves, and keeping a daily log of what’s been done. And while I am organized and like research in a lot of things, when it comes to family travel I am more of the throw caution to the wind and let’s-just-take-this-turn-and-see-where-it-takes-us type of gal. Looks like a little bit of it rubbed off on my husband too because mid way through our drive to Madina (800+ kms in all) I see him slightly sweating and shifting in his seat. A little prodding reveals what the cause for concern is - the fuel tank was near empty, there was no gas station in sight, and we had about 80 kms more before we were stranded in the middle of highway in the scorching (despite winter) Saudi Arabian Desert.
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