Pakistan – Day 3


To market, to market, to buy some fat rope…

I needed rope for a game that I’m facilitating on the fourth day of the conference, so we made a trip into the local market.  I don’t know why anyone would willingly escort me into town.  I attract a lot of attention, and I’m not sure all of it is positive.

But, I found one brave soul who was willing to go (and a driver, but the driver would just drop us off places and then go hide until we were ready to go someplace else).  We visited the local rope store, which as really cool – every kind of rope you can think of in all the colors of the rainbow.

I needed 40 meters.  Unfortunately, they don’t sell it by length; they sell it by weight.  They put it on one side of a balance scale (you know, the kind that Lady Justice holds) and then put weights on the other side of the scale.

So, I’m really not sure how much rope I purchased – about 10 kilos, I think.  Hope it does the trick.

Then, we visited the local hardware store.  It wasn’t Home Depot, but it still got the testosterone flowing.  Something deep inside me stirred, and I realized that men everywhere have a common bond in our love for tools.  (Ruh, ruh, ruh!)

We bought a few kilos of hook-screw-thingies (man-talk, ladies – you wouldn’t understand) and then waited for our driver to come out from hiding.  During this time, several children surrounded me and just stared, grinning and nudging each other.  They didn’t seem to want anything more than an opportunity to experience a large, white man out of his natural habitat, so I just smiled and took their photos.

Side note: when visiting a foreign country, a camera is a child-magnet, a trust-building mechanism, an icebreaker of the highest nature.  Take a child’s photo, and then show it to him, and you will have a friend for life.  Scratch that – you will have two dozen friends for life.  Because as soon as the other children hear the shutter click, they will come running from all directions and provinces to get into the photo.

We finished our trip with a visit to the local paper-seller, who didn’t seem too interested in our business but managed to round up what we needed.  Unfortunately, he didn’t weigh it out on the scales.  Instead, he typed out the price on his calculator.  A disappointment, I have to admit, but I suppose progress is inevitable.  Next thing you know, the Rattanabad market will become a Walmart with 200 checkout aisles and laser scanners.  I miss the olden days already.

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Filed under culture, Culture Shock, funny, humor

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