Daily hotel life

I am travelling with a shopper. That has altered my behavior. I have tagged along and as a result contributed more to the Pakistani economy than if I had travelled alone. I thought I already had everything but according to the salesmen I need Kashmiri jackets, shawls, SWAT valley stoles, leather goods, fur coats and more.

Every day we eat wonderful food, accompanied by a salty lassi. My favorite lunchtime meal has been Peshawar mutton, spicy but not too. Fresh lime soda has become our cocktail of choice, best thing when there is no cold beer or a glass of wine to be had. We debrief and then go to the lobby pit and have our lime soda. For dinner we can choose from various Asian restaurants in a neighboring hotel, or here from Lebanese, Italian, Pakistani cuisines, or an ‘arab mezzeh’ served on a plate made for oysters.

At night, when not working on other jobs that 9-hour-behind-Cambrdige has on its to-do list (they start the day when I try to bring it to closure) I watch a Saudi TV channel which runs the Comedy Channel 24 hours a day. So I get to see Steven Colbert, Tina Fey or Jay Leno interrupted periodically by Saudi advertisements for perfume, life insurance, deodorant and chocolate.

And when I do neither I work on an embroidery project. One of the housekeeping ladies inquired about my embroidery style which is quite simple (cross stitching) compared to what Afghan and Pakistani women produce. I asked her to show me her embroidery, which she did the next day: a tiny pink dress (she is about 4 ft. in length) and a wrap – fine cotton with very fine embroidery, the kind I imagine only a machine can do. But it was hers.

And then of course, because I admired it, she offered the outfit to me. I quickly wrapped it back in its paper and pointed out we weren’t quite the same size. I was relieved that she got that and carried the package back to her home. After that, my project looked like kid’s work.

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