Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas is in the Air

The scents of Christmas, cinnamon, ginger, chocolate are wafting through my house as I bake...bake...bake. For me Christmas is all about baking tons of cookies to give away. I combine this with my other Christmas passion, holiday music and create a spiritual experience as I crank out the goodies.

Here in Pakistan, the daytime high temps are still in the mid 70's F, so there's no hope for a white Christmas and I don't miss that at all. I also don't miss the shopping crowds, in fact, I'm such a non-shopper that I stopped giving gifts once we moved to Pakistan 4 years ago. I just can't stand shopping here, it's all Dollar Store quality crap at rip-off prices, so why bother?

So I do cookies, and music and I decorate my house to the nines while ignoring the scowls of Hubby. He'd rather I just forget Christmas entirely. When we were discussing where to place the tree in this house I noted it was blocking his usual prayer place, I offered to move it to the opposite side of the room near the window, but I could tell by his instant and forceful decline that he was afraid the neighbors would see it. A compromise was reached where it was out of the line of prayer, but also out of sight from the windows. It's funny, in our house you can tell the direction of prayer because all the non-Islamic items such as photos and Christmas decor are all put on the opposite side of the rooms. So the East wall is Islamically free of human representations and the West wall is contaminated.

I've got to decide what to serve for Christmas dinner this year. Our Thanksgiving turkey was such a major disappointment that I vowed it would be the last Pakistani turkey I would ever buy. But what are the alternatives? There is no such thing as quality cuts of beef or roasts here. The butchers are untrained and know only ground or cubed, the cows are tough and stringy garbage feed beasties, so beef is out. Of course, there is no option of ham in this house so the other "white meat" is a great big no-go. I think I could get a goose or a duck, but I've never cooked either and don't have much hope that they would be any better than that skin and bones collection that passed for a turkey. I guess I'll just try to get a couple of nice plump roasting chickens and make do with them. Or, even better, there is a restaurant in town that sells rotisserie chickens for 160 rupies each that I just love. That clearly sounds like the best option.

We took our visitors from the States to the mountain resort town of Murree. It was cold, rainy, foggy, windy, but the girlies had fun anyway. They may have snow tonight, but I've seen enought snow in my lifetime that I'm not going to risk life and limb driving those insanely dangerous roads for it. The rainy ride was bad enough. We passed three accident sites on the way down. The second accident victims places LARGE rocks in the road as accident markers. Hubby hit one of the big rocks, skidded and careened to a stop just before hitting the mountain face. We were driving a new rental car with less than 500 km on the odometer. We were very grateful to God that we and the car were safe.

Well, I gotta go bake. I've got a new recipe for a traditional German cookie that I love, pfefferneusse or peppernuts in English.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Bogus in Bangladesh

Recently, Abez's email address was incorrectly printed as the reply address to letter in a Bengali matrimonial ad by a father seeking a match for his daughter in Bangladesh.

Her email box has been getting CV's and bio-data from hopeful Bengali men all week. It set me to thinking about what kind of man I should be seeking for my daughter, the real one not the bogus one in Bengladesh. If I were to place an ad as a matrimonial here is what I'd ask for -

Wanted: One Mr Perfect for my Ms Right;
Suitable candidates must have;

A body like Arnold
A mind like Stephen Hawkings
A sense of humor like Groucho Marx
A disposition like Forrest Gump
A business flare like Donald Trump
A great head of hair like Johnny Depp
Religious character like the Emir of Mecca

Though Abez is not perfect, every mother hopes to find the perfect son-in-law for her "Princess"

With my luck, however, there would be another mix-up by the newspaper copywriter and the ad would read -

Wanted: One Mr Perfect for my Ms Right.
Suitable candidates must have:

A body like the Emir of Mecca
A mind like Arnold
A sense of humor like Stephen Hawkings
A dispositon like Groucho Marx
A business flair like Forrest Gump
A great head of hair like Donald Trump
Religious character like Johnny Depp

My mailbox would be flooded with replies.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

I'm a Poet, doncha know?

While having a delicious South Indian fish dish made by the very hands of fellow blogger, foreign wife and Isloo-ite, Crayon, one of us complimented the fish and asked what kind it was.

"Well, the man told me if was salmon, but it isn't pink is it?" she replied.
"Ha!" I laughed, "Every fish is salmond and every fabric is silk here."

We all laughed knowing how true that statment was. Any item you show interest in is, "Imported, all the way from Taiwan, Baji" (respected sister) And comes at a "Special price, just for you Baji." (The "special price" is three to ten times the going rate depending on how foreign, rich, gulliable or desperate you look.

This morning as I was driving to church the words "every fish is salmon," came to my mind and in the spirit of EE Cummings famous Cow cuplet, I completed a short poem while navagating a round-a-bout in 4th gear and driving like a hellion through Islamabad traffic.

*uhhhhmmm - pauses dramatically while all of Blogistan settles down and turns all eyes forward.*

Buyers and Sellers:

Every fish is salmon, and every fabric, silk
Every stone a diamond, if you're of the Seller's ilk.

Carp is every salmon, cotton every silk
Stone is every diamond, if you're of the Buyer's ilk.

You may now applaud madly, and post cyber roses at my blog. However, I expect KNICQ's poet alterego Yawar to Fed-Ex me 2 dozen roses from Dubai and pledge to be my first and most devoted mureed (disciple).