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. [ rumi ] .
end on Jul 27th, 2004 5:57:48 am - Subscribe
My internet hours are very low, as such I will not be posting anymore. I depart for Lahore this Friday and will return on Wednesday. Then I leave for Toronto on Friday Aug. 6 and will Inshahallah be back in Canada on Aug. 7. Can't wait.
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last wknd in khi on Jul 26th, 2004 11:04:46 am - Subscribe
This weekend was my last in Karachi and we did a lot of fun things. Saturday Samina got us a ride with another Occupational Therapist she works with to Park Towers which is a shopping mall in Clifton. Well, it surely was a good remedy for being homesick, it was exactly like any shopping mall in the West! Even the prices were outrageous! It was a nice change though, and I had forgotten we were in Karachi for a while until we stepped back outside. We met Hussein and one of his friends for dinner. We went to a chinese restaurant: China Town. I didn't find the food to be pakistani-ethnicized at all, and it was very tasty. After they took us to another nice ice cream parlour that made me forget I was in karachi. I am not sure Hussein's friend found our conversation about research too interesting, but his ears perked up when we started discussing head scarves with Mehnaz. This was the first time we got home after the gate at the hostel was closed but surprisingly the house mother didn't say a word, probably because it has never happened before and we told her we had tried to call earlier but the line was busy. It's interesting how much security they have for the girls at the hostel but considering the situation in Karachi and the culture I guess it is not surprising.
Speaking of the situation, there apparently was a bombing on the superhighway on the way to Hyderabad, so there were lots of ambulances around the hospital. I found out on the way to go exchange some travellers cheques with an admin person from AKU. On the way back we stopped by the police station where he had some business. I had to wait with all the women in a separate waiting area.
Sunday, Samina, Atiya and I had planned to go to the beach. After an extended lie-in (british for sleep-in), we finally got there around 1pm. Even though our taxi driver cheated us and dropped us off earlier than he was supposed to it was lucky since at that spot on the beach there was a camel!! We all got on the camel after much kicking and screaming (Atiya, not me!), and got some good pictures. It was a little scary since there was no safety at all. The man charged us 50 Rs. for all three on the camel and he was askign 20 Rs. to take a photo of us with our own camera! The scariest part was when the camel sat back down. After the ride we walked along the beach for a couple hours. It was nice to see people having picnics enjoying themselves, but considering there was an oil spill at this beach less than one year ago, I was a bit grossed out and felt queasy. Apparently the liner which carried the oil had been rejected to transport by many other countries because it was unsafe. Unfortunately Pakistan accepted it, and the trajedy ensued. We saw a dead stingray on the beach, and again a lot of garbage. Sunday night I got to try cheeku (sp?)! Mehnaz had come across some and brought some home for me, luckily, since it seems to be out of season. We then ordered a chicken tikka pizza from pizza hut which was pretty expensive, but tasty.
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basoori aagya! on Jul 21st, 2004 11:47:12 pm - Subscribe
Samina, Mehnaz and I all bailed out of work a little early yesterday for some shopping. Haha, we did so, in order to not be out too late. Even though we had soo much time (we got to the bazaar at 3), we were shopping until 8 no problem. On the rickshaw trip back I was thinking, man, we are shopping maniacs. I've never shopped so much in my life. Haha. Well, I was thinking in my lifetime, I will probably never come back to Karachi for this kind of shopping again, so it is worth it. We went back to Sadaar bazaar to pick up some bedspreads that Mehnaz and Samina had picked out last week but didn't bring enough money for that time. It is a good thing we were at Sadaar, because Bori bazaar is right nearby, and this is where I found some flutes!!! Samina and Mehnaz were such good sports to help me chase around directions for about 2 hours. Every person we asked would tell us to go somewhere else. Apparently there is this man who walks around selling wooden flutes. We finally found him with a bit of luck, and when he pulled the sheet off his display of flutes I was so glad we finally got him. I bought one of the biggest size and one of the smallest. The flutes are made in Bangladesh out of Bamboo and sounded really good. Of course, I will have to learn some nice tunes to play on them. Samina also found a new voltage converter for her laptop at the nearby cooperative bazaar because she blew the fuse on the old one. Now we can watch pirated VCDs again!! We also managed to find lots of eye glasses. I didn't get any regular ones since I have just ordered a pair from Costco before I got to pakistan. It's a good thing too; although they are really inexpensive here (lenses and frames), I did not find anything I like and with these matters (eyes) I prefer to have a warranty and be able to go back to where I purchased them. But I did get two pairs of sunglasses. At the first optical store we went to, we all found some pairs we really liked, but the guy would not budge from 250 Rs. It was so hilarious, usually when we're at a store and they won't budge we all confer and try and figure out what upper limit we have before bargaining. But for some reason that time we all had it in our minds to try the "I'm leaving if I don't get this for my price" tactic, and all simultaneously walked out of the store without deciding to beforehand, even though we all really liked the pairs we had picked out! So after that we went to a few more optical stores but had it in our minds that we liked the first pairs we picked and couldn't find anything similar. Luckily we had accidentely left our bottled water at the store so we had an excuse to walk back. As we walked by the guy gave us our bottles, so we went back in. Then we told him we don't want to pay more than 150 Rs. (even though before we had tried to go for 200!), and he agreed! I was so surprised especially because he had complained he wasted so much time with us the first time when we left, and also we came back, which shows we were really interested in having the glasses. That is something I've learned - these shop owners always make you pick out something before telling you a price or bargaining. That is probably so you get attached to it, but it is also good for you because then you only buy what you really want. When we got back we were so exhausted/dirty/hungry so we showed some other hostellites what we got, showered, then went for a pakistani-style late dinner at the canteen. I can't believe in one week this elective will almost be done. I have not gone to the clinic today because of a special lecture on: The History of Science in Muslim Societies. I am quite excited!
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swimming on Jul 20th, 2004 11:44:14 am - Subscribe
Another hilarious adventure tonight in Pakistan. However gladly now I can really say I am getting used to the way things are done here and took this one much better than I would have probably a week or two ago. Samina and I decided to go to the sports centre again today, but this time made sure we came at an appropriate time to make use of the ladies swimming time. We worked out for about half an hour, then I changed into my bathing suit and Samina into her bikini (haha, I don't know why she brought that to Pakistan). We went outside into the pool area with tshirts on. The pools looked very nice, by the way, with one deep one and one shallow one. There were many many ladies swimming, and all but a couple had on those full body-suit type bathing suits and caps. We felt a bit shy in our western suits but were comforted by the few ladies there with similar gear. Despite that, we were definitely stared at. It is funny how sometimes people here make a point of staring, and don't even try to do it discretely. We sat down for a bit at a table pondering whether or not to go in. We were there for about 5 minutes then finally decided, what the hell, let's go for it. Samina put on a tshirt and pair of shorts on top of her bikini and I just went with my bathing suit. I went in, and the water was really cool and comfortable, so I told her to get in! She was about half way in, when one lady who may have been the "lifeguard" but was just wearing a normal s.k. came over and asked if we had showered before coming in. Well, we hadn't; our bad, it hadn't occured to us, so we told her. Then she told us we also can't go in without bathing caps. Well, these rules are perfectly fine and will help keep the pool clean, but I don't know why she watched us come in (dry), watched us sit down for 5 minutes, then watched us get in, THEN decided to tell us. And there is no doubt she, along with everyone else, saw us come in. This, by the way, would also be one of those useful places where they could use a sign or two. Well, it was our shortest swim ever, but at least we got the experience.
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hygenic? on Jul 20th, 2004 11:25:00 am - Subscribe
These days I have been able to see many interesting things at the clinic. Dr. Naushaba's talk certainly helped me out. Yesterday we went to a Balochi residence. There wasn't any great difference in economic level in general between the Balochi and Sindhi place we had seen last week. The houses were constructed a bit differently, with multiple rooms in one building. Also most people seemed to be related, and there were less families in the Balochi compound. The kitchens seemed to function the same way, with a gas stove. The people dressed slightly different, but I had already witnessed that at the clinic. Balochi s.k. tend to be more traditional. Also I don't know why but all the small girls had really short hair. Again I was surprised by some of the great economic differences between houses. I saw one house with a/c, nice windows, a car and a fence. It looked like it could have been in the middle of Canada. But of course, right next door was another mud hut. We couldn't go in because that family had gone on summer vacation and locked their house. We met one interesting lady who spoke urdu and was from Karachi, then had moved to Dubai for a few years with her husband for business purposes. He still maintains a business there but they came back. According to her because life is much happier here. She said in Dubai people are more well off, but they are more unhappy. She described to us how people (women) usually pass the day; washing clothes, "being happy like that". Her aunt was very kind and gave us some dates from their date tree. We sat in their house after they asked us a million times, but I've learned we probably shouldn't do that. It's becuase then they really want to offer you water/food, and we can't take it. Then it is hard not to seem rude for not taking the water. They were so persistent! They wouldn't let us leave until we drank the water. I didn't drink it, I knew I'd get sick. Unfortunately the other elective student who was with me, from Karachi, took a couple sips. She said it was really bad, and probably not even boiled. Hopefully she's okay.
Then last night we did tons of shopping at Meena Bazaar. Mehnaz and I really were craving some sweet lassis afterwards. We decided to have some, and they were really great and hit the spot. I will leave out any details about the hygenic conditions under which they were produced or the glasses in which they were served. We also had some chaat which was not very tasty.
Today Dr. Samina gave me a really thorough tour of the labour room and operation theatre at the clinic. The whole place had a weird smell about it and I was feeling quite nauseous. It was probably from the smell, the heat, and her descriptions of labours. I am definitely sure I do not want to be a doctor. They try to keep the rooms sterile. Obviously not up to western standards (or AKU standards). You have to wear special OT or labour room slippers when inside, and they sterilize all the equipment every week. But because of the climate, it is probably very difficult to maintain things very clean. I was surprised then, when she said that these rooms are probably cleaner than those operating rooms you'd see at a bigger hospital in Karachi, like Jinnah Hospital to whom they refer patients needing more treatment.
The rooms both have backup generators for the lights and equipment. However the generator cannot support the A/C. This is pretty important in such a hot climate because you cannot have a fan going while doing an operation. The air will keep inside the open body. I'm not sure what a regular operating room has in terms of equipment, but it was nice to see everything there. She also described in detail the medicines they had for women during labour and showed us and thoroughly described the use of a vaccuum or forceps to pull out the baby, not leaving out any essential details like how to prevent tears etc. much to the delight of my stomach.
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