Friday, July 16, 2004

Hosting a Newbie
As you've read in blogs below, we are the summer hosts of our son's ’ best friend from High School in the States, Oleg.  This, of course is his first time to Pakistan.  He is Russian-American and 19 years old.  Oleg, has heard Zaman’s stories of the exciting life in Pakistan (m not talking about the animals here) and wanted to check it out for himself. 
Here are some of his recent discoveries.
Oleg now knows that not only diarrhea a way of life here, its causes, cure and treatments are even proper dinner table topic.  If you say you don’t feel well, even total strangers will ask, “Do you have diarrhea?  What are you taking for it? Do you need to go the doctor?” 
He now knows that ants pack a powerful bite,*ouch* and the local mosquitoes like imported blood.*itch, itch*
He’s been trying to catch the lizards in the house for pets.  Yesterday, he came bounding up the steps in hot pursuit of a tiny 1 inch lizard, the kind so small and so charged with energy, that they don’t run, they bounce across the floor in leaps. I was standing at the top of the stairs, and he herded the thing between my feet (you should have seen my record vertical jump!  I could represent Pakistan in the next Olympics.) and straight into my bedroom closet where he lost track of it.  I was annoyed by the thought of it jumping out the closet and scaring the living daylights out of me.  (Even a 1” lizard could do it.)
He has learned the hard way that dhobis (laundrymen) are evil.  While the washing machine was out of order, we sent out the laundry.  Oleg’s boxers came back pressed and starched (ouch!), and his shorts, his FAVORITE shorts, came back with a burn hole the size of an iron.  Yes, dhobis have evil powers to sense your favorite clothes and inflict their worse damage on your best beloved.
Oleg:  “How close is the nearest McDonald’s?”  He should have asked how far since it is all the way in Lahore.  When I suggested a burger from our restaurant to appease his craving, he politely told me they weren’t the same.  Duh, I knew that already: our buffalo burger packed with fillers, seasoned to appeal to Punjabi tastes and served on a too large, too sweet bun would never match the great American burger.  
Sunshine: Pakistan is blessed with sunshine.  Oleg has now learned the hard way that at 3000ft above sea level (the altitude of Islamabad), sunshine is fierce, but at 5000ft above sea level, (the height of low-altitude trekking) sunshine is deadly.  Despite the fact that I packed the boys two tubes of heavy duty sunblock, he returned from his week of trekking with blisters and a new layer of skin, bright red and painful. 
Yes, you can always spot the newbies here, they're a lovely shade of red.

Monday, July 12, 2004

*cue music: The Boys are Back*

Yep, I was rudely awakened by the door bell at the unheard of time of 8:45 am. There stood two tired, hungry and sunburned 19 year old mountain trekkers. I've never been more happy to see two dirty, hungry people at my gate. This being Pakistan, I have dirty hungry people at my gate at the rate of about 3 per day.

My son came back with his built in tan activated to the max, but his poor friend a pale/pink Caucasian, looked like Lobster Man!!! Wow, I sent them two tubes of heavy-duty sunscreen and warned him about high altitude sun, but obviously, he didn't listen.

They had spent the last 12 hour riding in a bus standing up the whole time, no food and no rest. They promptly took showers and collapsed into bed. So I must assume they were too tired to even eat. (They're so cute when they're asleep.}

Hubby promptly restocked the empty fridge with boy appropriate foodstuffs. I'll pick up some chips and maybe even bake some brownies or gingerbread so they have suitable junk food to munch on when they awaken. Then I'll get their stories of their trip to the base camp of Nunga Purbit. This year is the 50th anniversary of the scaling of K2, the 2nd highest mountain in the world, but all the activities for that program were a few miles away from where the boys were.

Yesterday, I walked one hour on the elliptical trainer and 45 minutes on the street. Wow, and good on me, as the Brits would say.

I've been going out with Hubby in the evenings as he drives the motorcycle with the dog, Wafadar. It's the highlight of our day. The dog bounces with anticipation, runs with gusto and fights with relish, with Hubby enjoying every minute of it.

The sight of a dog running along side a motorcycle such a comical and rare sight, that the neighbors call my husband the Dogman. He gets quite a kick out of it, and the dog enjoys running with the pack (so to speak). I provide expert information about dog behavior to help him understand what the dog does and why. Hubby didn't know that when Wafadar stops frequently to urination, that she is marking her territory. Every dog battle is to prove her status as alpha-female of the neighborhood. Every cat is a competing carnivore who must be chased out of her territory. Such drama, such pathos!!!