In case you were wondering why my university financed me seeing the Taj Mahal and learning about Bollywood, you’re in the dark no more: we visit our first computer lab today. It’s some mountaintop girls’ school outside of Dalhousie, and the visit’s a little sensitive: aside from just making sure things are going O.K., we’re picking up 5 computers that we placed in storage with them that they’ve since deployed. So, we’re basically uninstalling as our first install. We’re not leaving them high and dry or anything: they’ll still have 10 computers donated by Penn.
Fortunately, my total ineptitude at language leaves me out of any of the tension. I just sit in the principal’s office smiling as Dr. Gangulee sorts everything out in a language that my comprehension of is basically limited to knowing “aloo” means potato. So anyways, we get the 5 computers, which we’ll redeploy later this trip, install some more software, drink some really good tea, and we’re out.
A note about the roads: driving borders on death-defying. Average speed is something like 60 kilometers an hour if we’re lucky. Taking corners is an act of faith that involves beeping and praying that nobody knocks you off the side of the mountain by being silly enough to try and travel in the opposite direction. Guardrails are few, far between, and purely decorative: a motorcycle would knock most of them down, let alone our 4-wheel-drive Jeep wannabe. But nonetheless, we make it to our guesthouse bounced but alive.
One of the more beautiful places I’ve been, Dalhousie is a small town atop a green mountain. From our guesthouse, we have a great view of a massive valley; when it’s not too cloudy, I can just make out snow-peaked Himalayan peaks in the far distance. Also a treat is the bazaar: we buy shawls and woodcarvings at ridiculously low prices, and I even find a stone wall that makes a great place to attempt climbing. A goofy American who looks about to hurt himself, I attract a dozen onlookers and only almost fall once. But best is the info Amna garners: I can pay someone to catch a baby monkey for me! I’m sure you don’t understand, but suffice it to say that having a pet monkey would increase the quality of my life on a daily basis, especially if I could get it to steal food for me. Definitely gonna find out if there’s any way I can bring one through customs; dressed as a baby, maybe?