A 2nd New Beginning

July 7, 2009 at 6:20 pm 5 comments

I’m about half way through my three month assignment in Pakistan and am starting to find my feet – services, customs (huge learning curve), work, people.  I’m starting to go beyond the wide-eyed amazed stunned look to the oh yeah – I recognize this, I know this street, I know how to get from A to B and how and where to buy this and that.  I haven’t yet got to knowing when something is overpriced.  Course I don’t expect to get there either because I don’t even have that facility in Canada!

Just yesterday I moved to a new guesthouse.  Just $1.50 Cdn more than what I was spending before, but the difference in quality is like night and day.  The old one had a thin, frayed, green flower carpet with a burn mark.  This one has beautiful hard wood floors and a funky carpet in mustard, with teal and burgandy modern designs.   The other had ants in the shower with blue and white tiles and really funky turquoise fixtures.  I loved those turquoise fixtures, it was what made me choose that room over the others.  However, this bathroom has a marble floor and tiles, a walk-in closet and doesn’t have a large hole in the window covered by cardboard and fitted with masking tape.  This guesthouse has modern paintings on the wall, a leather couch and a small dining enclave.  This guest house has a huge, firm king size bed that I roll around in versus the other house which schmushed together two single beds with sagging mattresses.  And best of all, the aircon in this guest house works like the dickens.  This Canadian blood thanks you very much.

Of course there’s always a negative.  The only one I’ve found so far is that it is a 25 min walk to work vs. a 5 min walk.  But soon, car pickups and drop offs will be available and I look forward to taking aircon advantage of that!

Gotta start writing this week’s sitrep.  Pictures coming soon.  Just need to upload them.  Keep writing, it’s great to hear from you.


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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laura  |  July 8, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Have you started to miss “the melodious 4:00 am chanting” yet?

    The guesthouse sounds lovely. Gardens? Flowers?

    Tell us about the 25 minute walk to work. Why is this not a good thing? Too hot?

    • 2. JJ  |  July 12, 2009 at 3:21 pm

      Nope, no missing no wailing sounds! Instead I hear birds and children playing and laughing. That’s the way I like it. There is a patch of green outside that is accessible but have not been at the house during normal hours to take advantage of same. Plus it’s 43C so it’s a tough choice – aircon or heat till you drop. Walking to work or anywhere is discouraged by the UN because of security precautions. Vulnerable target and all that.

  • 3. gaby  |  July 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    glad to hear all is well with you. sounds like things are looking up.
    warm weather here, pool water still cool/cold, 3-4 mins in and out, kids of course longer. two wks passed since 2 grandkids arrived and time seems to go in quickly, 4 wks and they’re gone again for another year. B has officially given notice–retiring Dec.31/09–tried to make the date 010110 or 100110—no luck–I have this thing for numbers. SORRY—-tried really hard, your orchid lost all of its blooms this week–friend say them should come back. off to wedding on 25th, B’s niece getting married–will be a fun weekend.
    keep those journal entries coming, L gaby

  • 4. Nathalie VB  |  July 13, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Are the children there having summer off from school like over here?

    Do the more well off families go away for the summer? Especially if its that hot!

    What is it like for the kids there? My kids would love to hear about that.

    Also, do you see or hear about any exotic animals like we hear about in India, the sacred cows, and the monkeys in the temples … We watched the Jungle Books video again, one of their favourites – the Bear Necessities of Life …

    Thank you for the Snatam Kaur CD, I had given up on that until your return! Kids were happy to hear her voice again.

    The kds here are in birthday party frenzy, with just one mishap – the hot water tank blew 15 minutes before we were off hosting Mr.X’s party at the wave pool! We managed to handle everything without the kids noticing too much. J’s sleep-over party is next. She just got back from soccer tournament in Kingston.

    Looking forward to the pictures, Love from Nathalie and the rest of us.

    • 5. JJ  |  July 18, 2009 at 5:55 am

      Children do have the summer off – they return on 1 September. The only problem is that there are over 4,000 schools being used by internally displaced people as their homes because they have no place else to go. The Dept of Education is currently doing a needs analysis to determine what sort of shape the schools are in in preparation for the children to return for the school season. I think it’s pretty unrealistic to assume that the IDPs will leave the schools any time soon.

      There is a private school system – one located directly in Swat, one of the conflict affected areas. Obviously only the well-off can afford to allow their children to go but even their schools and their funding base is being affected.

      Just got to see buffalos yesterday. Very placcid creatures. Have a great pic will upload at some point.l They’re black as night and are a source of mllk over here. Also saw some monkeys while I was hiking. They’re quite big and kinda scary – not at all like the cute creatures in the Jungle Book.

      I went to a very old village and once there, met a man whose father had created out of clay a copy of the very first train to reach Islamabad about 50 years ago. The cave of a workshop was filled to the brim with clay pots, candleholders, yogurt makers etc. I bought some presents for the kids and hope to get one fo teh Cdn High Commission staff to bring it with them back to Canada. Will keep you posted.

      What is most surprising about the kids here is how late they stay up (don’t show the kids this). Evening and late nights are normal. People don’t eat here until 10 pm sothe whole family is up until at least 2 am. I still haven’t figured out how they are able to still go to work in the morning!

      Hope you are well. Big hug – JJ


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