USA Diaries – Day 28– Is it safe to say that Cahokia was overrated?

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.

PS: I haven’t kept my promise.. I didn’t post each and every day and now I am trying my best to update all the remaining days from the sanctuary of my Home Sweet Home. 

I am sorry.. you need to forgive me… I am not an archaeologist and you can not expect me to feel the same way about a pile of earth the way the rest of the group might have felt. But I am skipping ahead.. and therefore let me start the details of the day from the very beginning. By this time, it is a granted fact that day just has to start early and there is just no getting around to it. But since I am not a breakfast person, I headed off to the Arc, which I was unable to see the night before. Now, I was a bit scared since the affairs of last night were more or less very much alive in my memory. But the park and the overall area was so breath taking that all my concerns went out of the window. The Arc is a splendid structure, but since I didn’t know the concept behind it … which is very important for me to have any feelings for anything ….. I lacked that connection with it, which I was able to establish with, lets say, the Vietnam Memorial.

By the time I got back to the hotel, people were more or less there and just waiting for a signal from Mark to start loading the van. And within 15 minutes or so we are all ready and heading towards Cahokia. Now I didn’t google Cahokia or anything, because I like to keep this element of surprise and be completely taken away by the very first sight… And in this case too, it was very much true, but just not in the way I had hoped.

So while my Archaeologist friends were all taken away by the sight of the site, for me it was nothing more than a pile of sand. I am sorry… I am really sorry for hurting anyone’s feeling this way.. but that’s what it was .. for me! When they said to us, that lets move along to the next site, I really thought that maybe the next one will be much grander town like say Mohen-jo-Daro – which after this, feels like a real beauty! But the next one was just more of a mound!

Although you do get a pretty good view of the city from the top!

However, the Museum was quite another story! I think I was simply in love with the Museum display and the way everything was organized. My friends comment was also justified.. She said that there were not so many archaeological artifacts retrieved from the site as she had expected to be here.. but the Museum Director in his defense did say that it was because most of those artifacts were displayed in the State Museum.

The Museum was so amazing. The tour of the Museum starts with an Orientation Film, which tells the story of the site and how people lived and how the mounds got developed. At the end of the movie, the backdrop is suppose to rise up to the Cahokia Village display, which I should say would have been quite dramatic, but unfortunately the backdrop wasn’t working and thus we were deprived of this privelage.

 

But the entire museum is a must see, yes there are not many artifacts from the site and therefore, thank god I am not an archaeologist, because I didn’t once think about this. I just thought that the info being given was nicely divided up under different headings. And the display and dioramas were simply to die for. I loved it!

And then how can I forget the village scene display! Amazing!

On the way back, we stopped at an Antiques Mall, and I could have gotten lost in that place, it was so huge and amazing. I mean it had everything in it that I could have every thought possible! But there was so much to see that you need an entire day to go through it. I mean for heaven’s sake, one of us actually found archaeological artifacts and stone tools from this place. I however found these really amazing sign boards and all!

The rest of the way was just another drive lasting around another 6 hours. Dinner was a Chinese affair, and I liked what I had, although I cant recall the names of the dishes which I had.

USA Diaries – Day 27 – I left my heart in St. Louis!

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.

One thing you learn when you are under the supervision of Mark Kenoyer, and that is that he will pack such a schedule that you get the most of everything without wasting a minute of your life. And this is exactly what Sunday was all about! Despite the fact that we were due to travel to St. Louis so that we can visit the site of Cahokia, there was still a session organized for the morning. The session was all about Collection Management and how the University of Wisconsin with its limited budget and all tries to do the best it can for its collection. We also had a big discussion about why is it necessary to have Teaching Collection with which the students can familiarize themselves and learn to handle artifacts and objects and how it can be used for their Research Purposes. The tour was given to us by Danielle who works in the Department and has been taking care of the Collections for a while now. I really like this approach of Western Universities where they let you touch the objects and actually get a feel for them so that you can have a better understanding of their texture quality and everything and there is no denying that you get more out of such experiences then you can ever imagine. We even got a chance to go and visit the effigy mounds many of which just seem to be scattered all over Wisconsin Areas. These Mounds are shaped as certain animals and the exact purpose of these effigy mounds has still not been very clear. The major excavations were done in the early 1900’s and sometime around 1920 but even the evidence found has not been enough to deduce the basic person of these mounds. I would love to post some pictures of them, but then in the pictures they hardly seem like something special… actually to be honest, they didn’t seem like anything special in reality even.. oh well, that’s the non-archaeologist in me speaking! Anyways, so after that we went to grab some lunch at the same place where we ate the first day – this Indian Restaurant called Mirch Masala. And on my way back to the hotel, I saw these bunch of people gathered up outside the Capitol Building – and chalking the sidewalk. Since there seemed to be no explanation for this, I decided to go up to them and just see what are they doing. It turned out that these people were protesting against the arrest of two Veterans who were charged with Chalking on the Side walk. The people simply spread the word out and they had an entire strategy planned out about what they are going to do when the police comes etc. I really thought that it was an ingenious idea for protesting. I simply loved it. 

 

By the time we got back, people had already started to pile up in the Presidential Limousine and many of Mark’s students had also decided to join us for the trip. I have to say that it was a very sweet ride, but apparently there had been a bridal shower or something in it the night before which meant that there was glitter more or less every where. There is hardly anything that I can say.. I mean after all it was just 6 hours drive. There were jokes and discussions and all of that but there is little that can be shared out here.

We did get a chance to see much of the landscape and the problems that are being faced. This year there has been a scarcity of rain and this means that most of the corn fields have gone dead. It was quite sad to see this, which would have an impact on the entire food market of the world.

When we finally reached St Louis we headed off first to the restaurant Rasui – which is an Indian Restaurant. The food was really good and it was nice to have a lassi after so many days – although I do have to say that I will never get used to the idea of having lassi with a straw and without Malai.

But still it wasn’t so bad!

The night stay was at Hyatt and we were pretty excited about staying at such a fancy place. But the most exciting part of the night came when we decided to go out to the Arch, and right then at that time, a shoot out happened right across the road. A car apparently just came and started 3 straight fires…. a few people across the road were just ducking behind a bin. I think someone was injured or something. And then we even got cursed as well by a car which just passed by us. I have to say it was too much adventure for one night.

After all this, there was enough reason to call it a night

 

USA Diaries – Day 24 – A Field Day to Milwaukee!

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. 

Since I am late with this update,I am going to cut straight to the chase and give you the main headlines, and considering the fact that it has been more or less raining since the day we have come here, there has been little or no action. The day was dedicated to a field trip to Milwaukee, which is like an hour or so drive away from Madison. This also meant that the day had to start pretty early.. .again early for us, normal for these Advanced Americans… that is at 7:45 am. We were to travel in style that day, that is in our Presidential Limousine.

In Milwaukee, we had to meet and see this wonderful College or Letters and Science, which is one of the oldest institute offering a Certificate in Museum Studies. The place appears to be amazing, and so is the course. the program is 2 years long and offers hand on experience to the student, which is one of the reason why the classes are kept to a minimal. We were given a tour of the facilities and we were able to see first hand, how Institutes and Students who have little or no budget work. It was a nice experience for us, since we were able to get an understanding about how we can do certain things, considering that in our countries Budget is always an issue.

The Museum Studies program is being done in coordination with Milwaukee Museum, and believe me when I say this, that the Museum is one of the most impressive Museums I have seen. The details and the way the exhibition had been conducted was really good.So without ado, here are some wonderful images of the Museum!

PS – Since it was raining the rest of the day was all about being indoors. The only highlight of the evening was that I went out and got pizza for myself… And it was raining and chilly like anything!

 

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!

USA Diaries – Day 22 – Hello, Madison!

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 23, 08-8-2012 – In my hotel room, Madison, WI, Local Time: 2241, Pakistan Time:09 August 2012, 0840

Apparently for a flight at 10 am you need to get up at 6 am… And I say this from experience! And let me add, that so early in the morning I am not a very nice or friendly person! This is simply for information!

Anyways, we wake up early, run with our suitcases out of this wonderful hotel and land at the Ronald Reagan Airport.. where we all await to know the dreadful news… Our luggage (or at least mine for sure) is overweight. When I loaded my luggage 22 days ago from the Karachi Airport, it was a mere 16 kg or 32 pounds approximetly. Today, when I had the same suitcase weighed, it was almost 79 pounds….. and it was all books… Oh well, there is nothing which I didnt already predict! Anyways, I get my luggage in and then I ask this old sweet man about which gate is my flight to be depart from.. I am travelling by Delta.. the old man however tells me to go to United Terminal.. that is located on the other end of the Terminal….. of course this is something that I will only get to know that much later. Not only do I go to the United terminal, I even clear security. I get done with the entire screening process and go inside the lounge and sit at this particular gate and wait.. until…. things start to seem fishy! I check from the counter and my suspicion is cleared! I am in the wrong Terminal. So I walk back to the Correct terminal, which guess what, is on the other end of the terminal!

But hey, you can never expect me to complain about getting lost… I loved the entire experience!

So I am finally at the right terminal and I board the right flight, and then after an hour or so of flight time, we are in Dallas, Texas Airport. Now I have been quite shocked about the Airports that they have in US, and this one was no exception… I mean there is a bloody train which moves inside of the Airport… I mean INSIDE! I mean you can be walking on those escalators, and all of a sudden you can see a train moving from one end of the Airport to the next! And there were around 78 or so gates in that one terminal alone, and I am sure there were other such more terminals!

And from Dallas Airport, we took another flight that took us to Madison! Now the plane in which we were suppose to travel was ridiculously small. I mean it was a matchstick! I don’t even know how we fitted into that plane, but anyways we did, and after another hour or so we had shifted … from our room in DC…

..with out combined Kitchenette …

…. into this..

So, the place is amazing! It is small and petite and tiny, but there is a huge difference between the crowd of DC and Madison. Since Madison is a University town, where you can see these kids getting the ideas of liberalism for the first time, therefore there is a huge difference in the way they dress to even the way they flaunt their cigarettes in public, this being particularly true for women. But the women in DC were much more sophisticated and I think I hardly saw anyone smoke in public like the way I saw in DC.

So as soon as we reached our hotel, we were greeted by Dr Mark Kenoyer – the larger then life personality, who instructed us to put our luggage and come out for lunch with him. We headed to this Indian Pakistani Restaurant called “Mirch Masala” and I tell you, it was God send. I mean after days I had vegetables and desi food, and Achar (pickle) and roti…and Achar! I mean it was heaven! This is not to say I don’t enjoy what I am eating now, but I loved the desi food!

 

I think I hardly ate anything except this!

So, when the sun had gone done a bit we were given a private tour of the town by Dr Kenoyer and we got to see Madison with all its history and even the minutest of detail.

A sign of protest against the freedom to carry weapons in Public taken up by the various Shopkeepers!

We took a tour around the University Campus where we even had the chance to see the Boating Club in full swing…. yes they have a boating Club!

We finally went up the Anthropology Department and from there we had the chance to see the various classes and rooms, before we finally took our spot in front of the amazing Bell Tower!

 

I think we sat on that spot for about an hour, or until it was already 7:30 and it was time to head back for dinner, which we had at this amazing Restaurant,

And we had such a variety of food that even I don’t know what we did have last night. I know there was Sushi involved, and there was Raw Fish, and there was a Shrimp Head, Saki and fried Ice-cream. Let me just say for the record, I didn’t like Sushi… the sea weed around it, I just didnt like!

Do you really think there is anything more left to the day when you wake up at 6 am and have had dinner?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA Diaries – Day 21 – And thus the final goodbye to DC!

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 21, 07-8-2012 – In my hotel room, Madison, WI, Local Time: 2302, Pakistan Time:08 August 2012, 0902

Yesterday we celebrated our last day in Washington DC and therefore it is completely safe to assume that the day was a bit emotional…. Or at least some parts of it were! The day started off with an effort to wrap up everything and to get all those lessons and lectures done that we wanted to learn about.

That meant an early start… well actually not so early from the American Standards…. It is astonishing for me to know that Americans het their day started at around 6:00 am.. and more surprizing than that is that not everyone goes to bed early. Since I have now been to a Pub Restaurant I can claim that most people are out for late hours and they enjoy their lives. They drink, they sit with friends, they joke around… more or less they try to get the most out of their lives.

 

So early morning start….. and as usual, we gather at the Eastern Island Statue. Now let me tell you a bit more about the Eastern Island. The Eastern Island has become this wonderful space for us where we always meet. And today was the last time that we met there!

From Eastern Island, we headed off to the Museum of American History, where we met the Curator of the Numismatics Collection, Karen. Now Karen is a wonderful person who has a strong opinion about things and she has a laugh that should melt mountains. She is very understandable of the various policies and problems that are there in our Work Community and how they are to be tackled. She was a researcher in Biology (I think) but then she switched her fields and since then she has been working with the Museum of American History.

She walked us through the Numismatics Gallery and after that visit we were forced to agree with her that the space does no justice to the million or so collection that they have. She also showed us the new space where the Gallery will be shifted, she showed us the vaults, the coins from the various regions, including the Czar Collection, and the coins issued by Catherine the Great.

But please excuse me since I have little or no interest in Coins. What was interesting for me during this trip were the comments and POVs I got to hear. It realy makes my blood boil when after seeing all of this – that we are seeing – some people (Read Pakistani’s) – can continue to close their eyes and think that what they have is the best and nothing can be better than that, that nothing can be better than what they already know. , that nothing is worth learning. I hate these sorts of people! These people should be locked up in a room and gassed!

The argument in the room also moved to how coins are usually a subject that is considered to be more of a “Man” hobby than a woman hobby. And that led to a whole new argument about the status of women in our country. There is another thing that I protested about – however, I did have to keep my tone in check. When the argument took a turn where the men in our country started praising the condition of the women and the status that they hold, I had to say something. It is not that they are wrong – it is just that this is not the whole picture. I am not going to get in this debate right now – But let’s just say that in a country where 96% of the women don’t have rights, the conditions are not well then!

I had protested once before as well. Last week there were 5 bomb blasts in Pune and that meant that our friends from Pune were worried about their friends and family back home. It was also a moment when we all felt a bit closer to each other. It was when this lady who is with us from the Lahore Museum said that “Oh in Pakistan a bomb blast is a daily routine” that I could not stay quiet anymore and I said out quite rudely and abruptly, “No they are not and especially not in the Urban Centres”. So let me explain what I meant by that! When someone gives a statement like that, it interpreted in my mind as she is making a joke of this tragedy! That the lives of people who die are not worth anything, it meant that they are so common that they have no value or worth as a tragedy anymore. So yes I protested and I am not at all sorry for that!

The second session of the first half was about Lighting and how to have suitable lighting for the Museum which is not only environment considerate but also does not damage the artefacts and remains. The lecture was delivered by Virginia who has been doing Theatre lighting for the last 22 years before moving to Museum Lighting – which she has been doing for the last 4 years now.

So after this we came back and had our lunch the last time – Turkey and Mashed Potato with Gravy! I have to say for the last meal in the Smithsonian this was a pretty good treat! After lunch, we had to have a session with Carol Butler – the amazing lady who we have been in love with since the very first day. She has this wonderful personality which is always so full of energy, and she has a wonderful mantra to keep her going day after day – which she calls as the “Registrar Mantra – which goes like this “I am cool, I am serene, I am flexible”.

We had one last tour of the various Collections within the Natural History Museum and we saw some pretty amazing stuff, like Dinosaurs Skull, Dead Squirrels, Insects and Mosquitoes!

Squirrel Bones

That is the skeleton of a Monkey

 

 

So we had our last session on how to deal with issues that we may be facing at work places, and then we had a session on Re-entry. Now I will really like to take a moment her and thank her for doing this session with us because well every experience chances you in some way or the other! Already I have experienced so much in such a little time, and I am sure that maybe it has changed me in some way or the other! I have no doubt in believing that going back to Pakistan will be an experience in its own and dealing with all those tiny little problems that seem to take a toll on our lives – the lack of Electricity, Water, Options, freedom, The variety of Choices, and so much more.

But before this it was time to become part of a cult that is Carol’s own invention – a cult that is held together by a Marble. This cult or network is spread across so many countries and people and is a reminder to us that we are all part of a bigger world. That in some way we all face the same issues and problems every single day of our lives and together we can always come up with a solution. The concept was simple – each person gets a marble as a reminder – this marble idea comes from her eccentric aunt. The very personal story goes something like this that whenever someone used to say to her aunt “Oh you have lost all your marbles”, she quickly used to retrieve one from her bag and say “No I haven’t! I have still one left”… I don’t know how I saved myself from crying.

After the re-entry was time for the Certificate Ceremony!

And then the final good byes… but what is a good bye without a final group picture… and what can be a better location that the Eastern Island.

After hugs and kisses, we came out of the Mall Entrance to find a big Screen – or more precisely “Screen on Green” sponsored by HBO. I had seen this before but I really didn’t know what it was more. Well the idea is that every week in Summer HBO puts up a big screen on the Mall and plays a Classic movie for everyone – free of cost.

And I have to say this was a wonderful experience. Americans love to picnic and despite being a Monday by 6 pm (the movie was due to start after dark – which is typically around 9 pm) the Mall was full of people. They had come directly from work, some people were saving seats for their friends, some had even bought their pets along who sat with them and enjoyed the movie and food. When the movie finally started from the middle of nowhere (for us) people got up and started to dance. The dance hardly lasted for 2 minutes but apparently is a tradition! The movie up for the night was “Psycho” and it was a truly new experience. People laughed, drank and just had fun! When the movie ended, everyone picked up their trash, stuffed it in the bins and headed for the metro.

The rest of the night was spent in packing and then just crashing on our beds, to start a new day, which will be taking us to Madison, Wisconsin.

 

Day 4 of 30

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 years I will be posting here all my weird thoughts and commentary. 

Day 3, 20-7-2012 – In my hotel room, Washington DC, Local Time: 2312, Pakistan Time:21 July 2012, 0759

Day 4 has some to almost an end but it has been one of the first days when we really got the chance to explore Washington DC. The day started off with Professor Dr Mark Kenoyer arriving in DC and then meeting us at the hotel in which we are staying. After the initial “hi”, “hellos” and checking in (for him of course), we headed out towards the National Mall, where we got our personal tour with Professor Kenoyer. What more can one ask for.

We started off our day with the the S. Dillon Ripley Center, where we were told that to protect views to the Smithsonian Castle, the entire building has been made on underground 3 levels. The most amazing part however remained how all these buildings are then tied to each other. For example, with the single entrance to the Ripley Center we were able to find our way to the African American Museum, The Arthur M. Seekler Gallery, Smithsonian, etc.

 

 

The journey then took us past many levels and corridors, but some of the most interesting thing that we were able to see during this time, included of course, “The Names Project – Memorial Quilts for people with AIDS” and the installation based on the Chinese story “Monkeys grasping for the moon”.

 

The next stop in the trip was the stop over at Smithsonian Castle, where we were showed a bit around as well as taken to the Burial ground of the great man, James

Smithsonian himself. It is really amazing to think about what people’s love and dedication can make them achieve in life.

 

 

We then headed off for our class, but not before stopping off at the Smithsonian Canteen, where I had the test of my first Turkey Sandwich, and the truth is that I actually did like the taste of it a lot. The food at the Smithsonian was fresh and lively, with no pomp or show about it. It was healthy food, being served with consideration for the taste appeal of the wider population. One of the amazing thing for me however, was seeing the amount of people that are coming in everyday in the Museum to see its exhibits. The number of people that come to the Smithsonian everyday is more than the number of people that we can get in a Pakistani Museum in an entire year.

 

The class today was on the understanding of “What is Cultural Heritage?”, a discussion in which we touched many of the concerns that we seem to share with regards to Museum Professionals. These included asking questions and trying to find solutions to “How to make museums less intimidating an experience for the average man”, “How do we deal with the concept of Cultural Identity for those Indigenous Communities whose source of Identity is linked to crafts which don’t seem to be relevant in the Post-Industrial Age”, “How to deal with the idea of the modern world in which everything is digitilized and how that may effect the capability that we have to trace records from letters and other such sources?”, “Is biological tissue linked to the greater idea of Cultural Heritage?”. These were all questions which raised some very interesting points in our minds.

After the class, it was time to head out again, and first we went to the Gallery Station or the China Market Stop to get our Sim Cards, and then we finally headed down to Dupont Circle, where we had the chance to do some real shopping and some window shopping. We stopped at this lovely little shop called “Bedazzled” which is all about these amazing beads from all over the world and at “The Second Story Bookshop” which I just have to visit again no matter what.

 

 

 

 

The day ended with us taking refuge for dinner at a place called “Bangkok – Thai Dining” and I was able to try a number of things here, again thanks to the wonderful suggestions of our tour guide and the genius man, Professor Mark. The things we tried included Spring Rolls, Minced Chicken with Roasted Rice, Chicken Satay, Raw Papaya and the main entree for me included the “Tilapio in lime Sauce” which is a sort of a fish which was much recommended by Mark. I did try some of the other things that everyone else ordered, but the highlight of the day was I think, food wise, Sticky Rice. It was the most wonderfully new thing that I have ever had in my life.

 

The day ended with a drive down the rainy roads of DC back to our hotel and now as i lie down with eyes heavy with sleep, i finish my last obligations of the day, by writing down about my day. Oh there was another unusual sight for me today, which I can only expect to see in Washington DC. As we waited outside the At&t for our Sims and all and especially for other people to get free, i caught sight of a bride and a groom all of sudden come up to the Metro and get their wedding photos and shoots being taken. It was one of the most wonderful sights I have ever seen.

 

 

 

Day 3 of 30

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 years I will be posting here all my weird thoughts and commentary. 

Day 3, 19-7-2012 – In my hotel room, Washington DC, Local Time: 2248, Pakistan Time:20th July 2012, 0747

Today was the first day of our course, which is taking place with the coordination of the Smithsonian. The day started off for me at 6: 30 am when I woke up after a 12 hour sleep – which was enough to cure any jet lag that I may have had. After that, we had a complimentary breakfast, before our in-charge took us to a local pharmacy to get our metro cards made, and then after that, we had our first metro ride. We took the metro from the Eastern Market stop all the way to the Smithsonian and then explored the National Mall a bit, before calling it a day. Afterwards ofcourse, we decided to take a walk around the block to find a place where we can have dinner. The place we stopped was a Thai Food place and I had duck – my first ever duck.

Here are some of my pictures from the day