Friday, April 17, 2009

Cowpies and Brain Masala

Howdy Y'all! We are living quite comfortably in sunny Pakistan. It's only April, and the temperature is hovering around 100 degrees. But it's a dry heat.

Yesterday we drove down to visit Sam's dairy farm, and I finally got to meet the bovine harem. They are all lovely women. Whoops, I mean cows.

The drive took about an hour and a half, and let me just say I finally got a taste of how it is to live dangerously. On the main road (the GT, that goes from Islamabad up north all the way through Pakistan to Karachi in the south) cars share space with giant decorated buses, mopeds, rickshaws, and donkeys pulling carts.

It is truly a spectacle. On one moped, I saw a father, a mother holding a 3 month old baby, and two young children, maybe 4 and 2 years old. Five people on a moped. They definitely understand about conservation.

It's considered good form to honk your horn constantly, politely letting the slow guy in front of you know that if he doesn't move out of the way soon, our car will courteously ram him off the road. In fact, it's rude if you don't honk.

This is what happens when you don't move out of the way fast enough.

Most of the time, I just closed my eyes and tried to think happy thoughts

On the sides of many homes (like the one pictured below), the people throw, um, cowpies on the wall. When the sun dries them out, they use the pies to burn for fuel. See? Conservation.

For the day, I was provided my own "lady-in-waiting" Saira. She was a delight to be around, and she was so beautiful, I felt incredibly underdressed and unworthy, and so I often asked her if I could get her anything. She became a fast friend.

At the dairy farm, our car was met with salutes from the security team, and when I got out of the car, the farm team was lined up, waiting to give me a bouquet of flowers. Again, I felt extremely welcome, and underdressed.

I got to plant a tree in my name, and then I watered it.

But of course, being completely plant-illiterate, I drowned the poor little dear. So the plaque saying "Mrs. Brodi planted a tree" will probably be replaced by a little tombstone saying "Mrs. Brodi murdered a tree. Right here in this very spot. May the tree rest in peace, and may Mrs. Brodi stay in her own country."

There was a little cafe of sorts for the workers, where a man would bake roti (kind of like wheat tortilla) in a tandoor. I can only imagine how tough his job will be in the summer, when the temps reach 120 degrees. I could barely stand within five feet of the oven.

This is a picture of a little square clay hut, where a family lives. We would see these often along the side of the road on the way.

Today, Saira and I are going shopping, and she's going to try to help me with my fashion sense (Pakistani, and even American).
Everyone I've met so far has been so kind and nice and good. I can already tell my trip is going to go by way too fast. The only bad part has been the jet lag. It feels like I have the flu or something and around 3:00 in the morning, I have a sudden craving for a roasted chicken. But I'm guessing that's how everyone deals with jet lag, right?

Favorite menu item so far: brain masala. Yes, it's exactly how it sounds.

Favorite conversation: When Sam tried to order a hamburger.

waiter: "No, sir, we don't have hamburger."

Sam: "I promise, I've had hamburgers here before. Like, all the time."

waiter: "No. No hamburger. Ever."

awkward pause.

waiter: "We do have beef burger. Perhaps you would like that?"

I mean, he has a good point. Where did we come up with "hamburger" when there isn't any actual ham in said burger?

Due to internet glitches, the comments are off right now, but I know you would all express a desire to be here, right?

Blog y'all later.