Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Daewoo Experience

I do have Internet access here!

There’s a famous Punjabi saying: jinne laor ni takkea o jammea i nai – “He who has not seen Lahore has not born.” I think this is applicable is to Pakistanis only, though I could be wrong. Anyway, yesterday, I was born—now I have two birthdays. Mom, Dad, and dear friends, that means two birthday cakes and twice the presents, please! :-)

The Daewoo (pronounced DA-WOO) bus had great service. I was impressed with the cleanliness, air-conditioning, and refreshments. The bus hostess kept us plenty hydrated by offering water every hour, which was the best part because I found myself to be awfully thirsty. During the 7-hour drive, we stopped only 3 times for 15 minutes at each rest area. Baba took advantage of these rest stops because he was not feeling well. For a good majority of the ride, I stared out the window. I saw endless farmland area—so many plants, and fresh vegetables, all green with properly functioning irrigation systems. I saw farmers on oxen and horses, making a run through the farmlands they worked so hard to cultivate. Harvesting season was finally here.

Once we got on the “motorway”—we say “highway” in USA—the white dotted and yellow solid lines reminded me of routes 495 and 295 I was used to driving on. I rarely saw suzukis or vans, common modes of public transportation in Abbottabad. Instead, there were Hondas and Totoyas everywhere. What an interesting juxtaposition of agricultural fields (symbolic of agrarian, rural Pakistan) and high-class motorways (symbolic of the progressing, urban Pakistan).

We safely arrived to the humid, humid Lahore. The first thing I saw in Lahore was KFC. Then a short while later, a bright golden ‘M’ caught my eye and I instantly began craving for fresh fries. I also saw Dunkin' Donuts and Pizza Hut. Talk about globalization! I wrote a paper earlier this past semester about ‘McDonaldization,’ the spread and globalization of Western food chains. Seeing the Western food chains from the Daewoo window put everything in context. Professor Murthy would be so proud of my conceptual application.

When we got off the bus, my clothes were wet….of sweat. Gross! The fans at the station only circulated warm air. No help. A good friend of Rizwan Bhai picked us up from the station and dropped us off at our hotel. Baba and I both quickly showered in cold, refreshing water. Felt like Heaven. It was about 8 p.m. so we ordered vegetable fried rice off the very Westernized menu. Quickly ate and fell asleep. A busy day awaits us tomorrow.

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