I'm about to celebrate Thanksgiving Dinner in Islamabad! The turkey smells just like home, but the only difference is, I'm not cooking it! That and the fact that is a lovely 50 degrees or so outside and the gardenias are still in bloom, and there are 60 expected for dinner ! I pride myself on the diversity of my Thanksgiving table, but this takes it to a whole new dimension. It should be an amazing time.
Got to Pakistan this morning at 3:30 am to find that my friend Susan had actually gotten up at that ungodly hour to meet me. I have to admit I was very grateful, since when you emerge from the Islamabad airport there are dozens and dozens of people waiting to meet the passengers and its a bit overwhelming. Of course my luggage is still somewhere between Munich and Dubai -- and Emirates PROMISED me it would be here this morning (they're business class is lovely, but don't check your bags unless you're prepared to not see them for three days -- not only are they MIA, but they are refusing to deliver them if and when they get here!) -- so I'm borrowing a traditional Pakistani outfit from Susan for tonight's soiree.
Susan and I tried to go for a walk this afternoon, but only got as far as an Army tent and some soldiers that informed us that the hills were closed due to the visit of Chinese Premier Hu who is in town for a visit. There are lots of welcome banners celebrating Pak/China friendship and it's clearly a very big deal.
I know that one thing I'm very very grateful for today is my friend Norma Haddad, who not only was responsible for bringing me to Qatar, but also provided me with my first shower in 36 hours!. I hadn't stopped traveling since early Tuesday morning, so by last night I was getting a little bit (no a lot) grungy! She has the best shower in the world, and then proceeded to pour me a fabulous glass of very very nice French Bordeaux before sending me on my way to Islamabad. Thanks to Norma and all those wonderful folks at Texas A&M in Qatar for taking such good care of me. It was also great to see so many folks from so many different walks of life show up for my workshop on measurement. It was great to make connections and realize that the Tourist office in Qatar has pretty similar measurement needs as tourism offices everywhere. While Qatar may be a bit behind the US in terms of its need for measurement, we at least got them thinking.