Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pakistani Hospitality at its Best

Tonight at 10:00pm, my doorbell rang. "Strange hour for folks to be visiting," I thought. Especially considering I go to sleep around 9:30 or 10:00.

I looked downstairs into the pitch black to see the forms of two men. One was carrying a big tray wrapped in a towel. I figured it would be safe to talk to them from behind my locked metal gate and see what they wanted. Usually beggars don't come bearing gifts.

I threw on my dupatta and grabbed by mobile in case I needed to call someone. I said, "Kaun hai?" "Aap log kia chahiye?" (Who are you? What do you want?) They spoke quickly and said someting about "bajji" who lives across the street. Without bajji being in sight I was apprehensive to open the gate. Sure enough, after about 60 seconds bajji made her way across the street and I opened the gate.

She introduced herself with a big smile and said she had sent some food for me. As I peered under the towel I saw two humungous plates of rice! One was biryani, a salty dish, and one was sweet rice that they usually eat for dessert. I said, "Oh! Yih pure hafte ka khana hai!" (Oh! This is a whole week's worth of food!") She smiled and said, "Aram se khaye." That translates to something like eat it and relax/you don't have to eat it quickly. We had some small talk and exchanged a hearty handshake.

I tasted a morsel of the chicken, and mmm it was delicious. Not too spicy. Duarte, there will probably be some left in the freezer when you arrive.

I'm looking forward to get to know the new neighbors! I'll have to make sure to visit them on an empty stomach.

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