Living on the Edge (of Pakistan)/ Lessons in Low-Maintenance

So much for getting excited. Now blogger won't let me add ANY pictures.

The previous two pics are from last week's field visit to Gagadi. It was only for 2 days, but I really lived dangerously. First of all, I rode on Uncle's malfunctioning motorcycle to work. It kept cutting out on the highway and whenever we hit a speed bump. And, no, I don't wear a helmet. "Only the driver needs a helmet...it's unnecessary for the passenger," my host brother told me. So I ride side-saddle like a real Indian woman, purse and laptop in my lap. Unlike a real Indian woman, I don't have a calm face and a great balance...I feel like I'm going to fall off at every turn. The good thing is that mom got extra travel insurance for dangerous activities such as this. So, if I fall and crack my skull open in a puddle of cow mess, we're covered. All thanks to an extra 20 cents a day!

I also forgot to bring any water with me. We're advised to drink 4 liters a day- I'm pretty sure I sweat about 3 of those liters out. So, I drank unfiltered Indian water during the entire trip. It's been 6 days and my stomach is feeling great! I was really proud of myself until a colleague informed me that water-borne illnesses don't set in for about a week. Tomorrow could be a doozy.

Another thing I forgot was toilet paper. And napkins. I forgot to bring ANY paper products besides my notebook. Thank God for the notebook (because I had a cold) and a special thanks to the god of bowel movements (I'm sure there is one.) I survived. I'm going to try to post my makeshift "trashcan" of notebook paper. As you may know, waste disposal as we know it in the USA is not really popular here. Just as the world is your toilet, the whole of India is your trashcan as well. I still can't bring myself to throw my trash on the ground, so I do my best. I really don't like carrying my trash around with me, though.

In all of the field center, I could not find one trashcan or one paper napkin or square of toilet paper. There was also no kleenex in the Gravis hospital. I must give credit to Indians, though. They don't waste like we do. Even though all of their trash is on the street (or burned)- it would be a heck of a lot more trash if it was Americans throwing out all of their waste. When I do see a trashcan here, it is rarely full. The typical American family has trashbags full of stuff each day. There is a lot of reuse and recycling of household products and a lot less use of paper and plastic bags.

Other ways in which I took chances:

I let the girls put more of that black eye stuff on me. And this time...no sty!! I also let the girls paint my nails. It wasn't the best idea. There is a reason that the best nail salons are run by Vietnamese and Chinese...not Indians. (See pictures below.)

I ate tons of garlic chutney.

I packed no clothes...just the sari on my back!

I washed my dishes with sand. This is the traditional method of dishwashing in India. I don't know how effectively it sanitizes, but it does cut the grease. And it makes me understand why Indians don't touch glasses or cups to their mouths when they drink.

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