I am having a brain dump of things I have been wanting to write about for a long time but haven't gotten around to....
1. American Express: the credit card that cares. Having deduced from my shopping spree at the Maharaja shop in Islamabad, which I paid for with my AmEx card, that I was in Pakistan, a representative from AmEx called a couple days after the earthquake to see whether I was okay and whether there was anything they could do to help out. How cool is that?
2. British Airways sucks: Be careful of your baggage weight when you travel BA. The allowance on our 7.5-hour flight from Islamabad was only 23 kg (51 pounds) per person. Additionally, their excess baggage charges are huge, about $20US/kg, or essentially $10US/lb. Big Jim and I got hammered. :-( And the staff was incredibly rude to boot. Dude tried to tell me this weight limit was standard among major airlines. Bull! Air France allows 70 lb/person and Lufthansa 100 lb/person on long-haul flights. Also be careful with your carry-on luggage---BA only allows 6 kg (13 lb) per person and will charge you a flat fee of a couple hundred bucks if you are over. Boo hiss BA. Also, before our London-bound plane took off from Islamabad, the flight attendants sprayed the entire cabin with this nasty insect spray. Totally gross.
3. Only 13 days until our annual pilgrimage to the US. Must remember to buy Christmas cards this weekend.
4. One thing I did not like about Pakistan was that when men introduce or talk about their wives or daughters they never address them by name. They just say, "This is my wife. This is my daughter." Not true for their sons. Also, men always shake hands and often hug when greeting one another. Women get a handshake at most. Felt very stifled, especially after all the besitos and hugging that goes on in Spain.
5. I have been suckered into attending the "Olde Time Music Night" in the village Friday night. Think barbershop quartet. Think poor me. Perhaps come down with sudden case of el gripe?
6. Last night I had my first earthquake dream, almost two months afterward. Was sitting in my parents' living room, watching afternoon soaps with my mother, when all the figurines on the shelves above the old platform rocker started shaking. I woke myself up before any more could happen, but the tremor sensations were very real. Spooky.
7. T. brought Big Jim a present last weekend: a round of the stinkiest cheese ever, a Swiss variety call Tete du Moine. I despise it simply because its vile odor permeates the fridge and all of its contents, even when stored in its own proper little (supposedly) air-tight container. Imagine my delight, oops horror, when I came home from Spanish class this week and found that the pups had pulled it down from the butcher block and devoured 90% of it. Hmmm, now who could have left it so close to the edge AND forgotten to shut the kitchen door....
8. On the subject of pet food choices, have I ever mentioned how much C.K. loves peas? The one sure-fire way to get her to emerge from the kitty basket is to open a can of peas. Or leave a pot of them on the stovetop uncovered. She is insane for peas.
9. No news yet on the job interview. Our friend D. from Munich also interviewed for a position on the same project last Friday; he hasn't heard anything either. Still keeping fingers and toes crossed. Would be fabulous if Big Jim and D. could work together again.
10. Not really sure how much I like the new guy in my Spanish class. He seems too caught up in being perfect all the time, rather than building on what he already knows. He also can't really seem to grasp the conversational lean to the class. He prefers exercises and homework. Am hanging in there for now, but may have to discuss with Miguel come the new year.