USA Diaries – Day 23 – The word is “Nouvelle”!

This diary post is a part of a 30 day trip that I am taking this month which it also happens to be my first ever International trip. So for the next 30 days I will be posting here all my weird thoughts and commentary. 

Day 24, 09-8-2012 – In my hotel room, Madison, WI, Local Time: 1812, Pakistan Time:10 August 2012, 0411

So yesterday was our official start in the town of Madison. The morning started off early where I thought I should give breakfast a try, since a new place new breakfast and maybe something interesting. But it wasn’t as wonderful a layout as it was at the Capitol Suites, but there were many things that I really liked, for example there was pancakes.. and I really did like it!

Anyways so after that we headed to the Anthropology Department, where Dr Mark was waiting for us all. At 9, the lecture began on the various aspects of Storage and how collections can be used to train and educate students and how this is an important aspect of what we need to be doing back home. He also talked to us about we need to be working on, which is basically a paper and presentation that we need to be writing to present on the last day of our trip!

He showed to us the Collections that they use in their class room and the various Ethnological objects that he has collected from all over the world to make use of in his Classroom. More importantly however was his discussion on how he has been using these objects and lectures to make students get a better understanding of these tools and objects. This is further achieved by making the students get hands on experience in which they are made to make these objects come back to life. For instance, they are taught how they made stone tools, The Smoke Room which the Indians used to make, the Kilns which the various Civilizations used, etc!

Replication of the first battery ever made!

After this we were given a special tour of the entire department, including the wonderful labs where you can do some of the most fascinating analysis… but let me admit something here, everything went right up my head… like WHOOSH! The lingo was truly archaeological for me to understand any part of it, but please don’t think that I didn’t enjoy it. I loved it, I loved seeing what the world is doing and ow far beyond they have taken research and how minutely now they are looking at the various things.

We also had a chance to make a stop at Union Stop, which is like a student Cafeteria. Now the story behind this building is that it was pretty ugly and therefore the students decided that an extra $5 can be charged on their admission fees and this is how the funds were collected to make this wonderful new building. I really like the solutions that these people come up with in this country to solve some of the issues that they are facing.

Anyways, so dinner was suppose to be a personal affair that day, but instead Mark called us in the evening, and it was decided that people who have no issues with experimentation can go out with him for food, and we headed out to this wonderful restaurant called Harvest. And OMG! The food was amazing! From the bread to the butter, from the fish to the pasta, everything was wonderful. And the steak… I can’t tell you about the steak and how good it was! But lets begin from the beginning! The Restaurant that we went to serves Nouvelle Cuisine – meaning new cuisine! This type of food is a mixture of French and Italian and American! The restaurant uses 100% local produce and all which are produced locally!

Tenderloin Steak

My Mako!

 

We started off some weird Salads, and since I am not much of a vege person so I more or less ignored that part. But I am all ready to jump to the main part. I had Cornbread marinated Mako… which is a fish, with a potato salad. I have to say it was like those typical Top  Chef dishes. I tried everything on the plate separately and that didn’t make much sense, but when you have it all together as a single bite, it brings out the most fascinating taste. Mark had a tenderloin steak which was rare, and I didn’t think I would like, but I pretty much loved it! The meat was so soft and wonderful that I would have never imagined that something that is not completely cooked would be so soft.

Anyways for dessert we had this amazing Cheesecake, in which the Crust was actually spread out on the side, and had a well of Blueberry in the middle! The dessert had a saltish, normal and a sweet component but together they made the most amazing bite.

It was truly a wonderful night!

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And the show begins : Day 1: Going to Lahore

The butterflies were completely out to get me and there was no doubt in my mind that they would get the best of me. My flight for Lahore for the first ever Trust for History of Art and Architecture, Pakistan (THAAP) was at 8 am, and according to my mother I needed to be at the airport by 6 … you can’t argue with her! This meant that I only got to sleep for 4 hours. Tired and sleepy and with the battle of the butterflies going on in my stomach, I boarded the plane at 8: 15 am – the flight was a full half an hour late, giving me a full two hours to miss my bed like crazy.

The Schedule for the THAAP Conference

I was suppose to be reading a paper at the THAAP Conference and I was as nervous as one can be, and I had every reason to be. I was selected among some very big names in the field, including Dr. Gulzar Haider, Dean of Beaconhouse University, Anila Naseem, Professor at the N.E.D University, etc and the rest that I didn’t know either held a Ph.d Doctorate or a Professorship or both…. I was sure I was being called just to show how dumb the current Generation of students are! Continue reading