Today starts with our second Pakistan lab install, fourth overall this trip. Aside from the video drivers not working on their preexisting machines that we upgrade and the sound cards not working on all but one of the computers we bring, it goes flawlessly after a minor power outage. The teachers seem really pumped for the lab, so itíll hopefully be used lots.
Dr. Gangulee has a debate with the principal that Iíve got mixed feelings about. From what I overheard, it was a good idea to challenge the principalís beliefs about the importance of Islamic education and the state of the ďMuslim world,Ē but both walked a fine line between challenging and offending. Whatever: ideological clashes wonít keep them from using the computer lab.
After wrapping up the last install, Amnaís family takes us to the ďfarm houseĒ her dad just had built. Complete with a huge yard, tons of plants, and a stream bed, itís nicer than most houses Iíve been to in the U.S. I ďlearnĒ cricket, or at least Amnaís little brother tries to teach me and pretends Iím catching on. Dinnerís biryani and some other tasty, spicy Indian food I canít name but nonetheless gorge myself upon.
Back at Amnaís main house, I help Sameer practice the tradition of ďtrashingĒ people on their birthday. He gets her with the hose, but my handoff of the flower goes awry: Amna grabs it and Sameer ends up substantially messier than her.
Leaving Amnaís, her family gives Sameer and I each a shalarkamy (Iíll bet you thatís not spelled even nearly correctly), a traditional Indian outfit with huge-ass pants and a long top, for putting up with staying in their beautiful house. We give a Penn engineering pocket clock in return for all their hostpitality, making it not exactly an even exchange. After more than 2 enjoyable weeks with them, Sameer and I say goodbye to Amna and Dr. Gangulee. Iíll miss them; I had a fun, sometimes hardworking time.
The bus we take to Islamabad, on the other hand, I will most definitely not miss. Not that there was anything wrong with the Daewoo Express per se: it even had a hostess and air conditioning. Itís just that I wasnít wise enough to realize that eating a ton of some food Iíve never tried before a few hours prior to taking a 5-hour bus trip might not be the best of ideas. In fact, I should have realized that it just might make my gastrointestinal system so screwy that I beg the hostess into having the bus pulled over so I can use a hole in the ground of a toilet. Not that that fixes my stomach: itís feeling a bad kind of wacky all the way to Sameerís uncleís in Islamabad. Laying in bed, trying to fall asleep as my stomach fights itself, I feel suddenly ready to be somewhere where I can drink the tap water:)