The first man walked on the moon-summer 1969
by Nabila Altafullah
I was 11 yrs old. My parents, who had migrated from Pakistan to Washington DC, five years earlier, planned a trip to go back to the homeland. Because we were five kids,all under the age of 12, the cost of airfare for us all was too much. My father however, knew how homesick my Mom was, so being the consummate Engineer/planner that he was came up with a plan. We would fly to Germany, buy a VW Microbus/Van from the factory there and drive to Pakistan.I remember him pouring over maps of the various countries and charting our routes on our dining room table. He packed all the dry Tang and goods for our trip, dehydrated fruits, canned sardines and supplies that we could carry. We can easily buy bread, water and meats to supplement our meals in the towns along the way,he surmised. It was a two week adventure I will never forget-through Europe, Yugoslavia,Turkey,Afghanistan and finally reaching Pakistan. We saw beautiful bucolic landscapes and towns, with happy and friendly people. These are countries now war torn and most likely will never be the same. We stayed in a small,quaint hotel in Frankfurt, Germany on the initial leg of our journey.
I remember the fresh baked rolls, crisp on the outside but warm and fluffy on the inside, for breakfast. Very European, but unlike the American soft rolls we were used to. We were sleeping in big white down comforters and pillows and just when we were drifting off to our jet lagged slumber, my father came excitedly into our rooms and woke up my brothers and sister. "Hurry, you all must come down to the Lobby. They are showing the moon landing on the TV here in the hotel". We scurried down, still in our pj's, and all sat fixed on the small black and white tv in the Lobby of this quiet little hotel in Frankfurt. Though the commentary was in German, no one needed to translate the monumental event that was unfolding before us and I felt a surge of pride, seeing the American Flag perched on the Moon.