Thursday, March 31, 2005

pack & go...

Today i shifted from Cologne to Kaiserslautern, a city in the South-West of Germany, close to France. I called a friend in Aachen (near Cologne) for help and he sent another Pakistani (Saifullah) to me for help in carrying luggage to train station. I was supposed to go in a small train (from local station) near my house to city's central train station. I called that Pakistani and told him the time for the small train that leaves from "local" station and asked him to bring along a taxi. He thought i told him the time of the train from "city" station. So he got to me earlier with the taxi. Naturally, i hadn't finished packing yet, and the meter of the taxi was running while it waited outside my house. So i hurridly packed everything, left the keys on the kitchen table and left in the taxi to the "local" station.

When we reached the "local" station, i remembered that i had forgotten the keys to my suitcases in my house. So i rushed back almost running to my house, only to find that it was locked and i had left the keys to the house inside !!! So i called the house-owner. He came in 10 minutes. I went in with him and found that i had left many things. So i gathered these things and came back to the local station. Then we went to the city station and i began my journey...

Friday, March 25, 2005

Back to English

Today was my last day at German Language School (CDC) :( Now its back to English i guess. Although i'll try to learn more German by speaking. It is very important to live better in Germany.

Our class made a small trip today. We went to a small fortress near our city. Some of the girls cooked some things, boys brought ready-made items. We went by train to this beautiful place. The garden was very beautiful. First we ate and drank (Cola:) and then went inside the fortress. The drawings on walls on ceiling were very beautiful. It was hard to believe that although it was very old, the painter had painted the flat ceiling such that it seemed like the bottom of a bowl. There was still Gold on walls, ceiling, cutlery, furniture, etc.

We came back in afternoon and said a very sad goodbye to each other :(

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Japan, Sushi, and I

Today i went with some Japanese friends to try out Sushui (famouse japanese fish dish). When i earlier asked them about Sushi, they said that it is made with fish and rice, but the fish is not cooked!!! More than that, they told me that Sushi in Germany is not the correct version, because in it, theyput dead fish!!! I can't think of eating this. So i asked them to find me a dish with cooked sea food.

So we went to the Japanese restaurant. A Japanese guy came to them and they ordered their dishes and found a cooked dish for me as well. First came cabbage salat. I ate it with chop-sticks (i am more talented than i thought :) Then came the dish, soup and Soya Sauce. In the dish were large pieces of rice with shrimps (cooked) in middle and around it was wrapped (green) Sea-weed. Tough! I took one piece and ate it in two parts. It tasted good, but the seaweed was hard. Then i took the second piece whole. Then the third... But the seaweed was becoming more problemetic. So with the permission of my friends, I took off the seaweed and ate the inner material; but it got messy. So the next pieces, i ate wholly. There were also two pieces with large prawns with tails. You are supposed to eat the prawn as far as you can. I left a good portion of the tail in the plate. And this all i did with chopsticks (clapping!)

I did provide much laughing stock for my Japanese friends.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Hajamat and Dosti Bus

Today we went to Bonn (my city's twin city) to meet a friend. We got to a barber (Turkish or Arab), whom my friend told cuts hair cheap. He was cheaper but he was very cruel with the hair. He cut many hair from me but my friend, he left him only 1 cm of hair. Cheap things really cost something else.

But more interesting is that we met Indians in the train on our way back. The journey lasted one hour. One of them sang a few songs on demand. Some read poetry. They lived in Brussels (Belgium). One of them was from Bengal. They came here on vacation. We told them about tourist places in the city and gave them information booklet. After one hour we departed. It was a good experience to run a "dosti bus" :)

btw, i guess learning German is ruining my English. I can't imagine how i taught a course at FAST-NU completely in English :)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Pakistani Family

Today two of our friends (Habib and Iqrar) came from Berlin to visit us. Habib had sent some of his luggage with a Pakistani living in Cologne. That Pakistani came to main train station to receive them and invited us to his house. We went to his house in his car. They treated us very well and served a Pakistani meal. He was living in Germany for 25 years. He had five children (in Germany!!!) and had some taxies which mostly Pakistani workers drove.

We said prayers in a nearby Turkish mosque. It was a very big and very beautfiul mosque. It was decorated like a mosque in Pakistan. Washrooms and wuzzu place were excellently maintained. Then he took us in car to show around the town and meet some Pakistanis. We met with a Pakistani from Karachi. He had setup a small shelter-shop on an empty residential plot. He had all kinds of stuff in it :) He and his bro came some time ago. His bro was settled here, but he is not yet.

At night the person drove us to our house.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Party at foreigner's house

Today, i was invited by a Japanese classmate to a party at home. Alongwith many Japanese people, two Koreanish students also came. I was glad that i am not the only one not knowing Japanese. So we talked in German. We cooked the food together. They didn't put any meat in the main dish (vegetables soup), considering i don't eat meat. Other things contained meat, even pig. They all drank but prepared tea for me and a Korean girl who also didn't drink.

After eating we sat for a few hours and discussed different topics. We asked questions about each other's country. One of the Japanese boys got their typical sticks for eating. I told them that i later want to learn how to eat with those two sticks instead of a spoon. They handed me the sticks and after a few minutes of adjusting the position of sticks in my hand i was able to eat with the sticks. They were surprised; and me too.

Earlier on my way to the party, i discovered a restaurant with Pakistani workers. There were labels "halal food" on the show-cases there. I ate a small pizza.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Country side

Today was Sunday - a good chance to explore and adventure. I saw schedule of a "Flohmarkt" (cheap market) and went there with my colleague. The train dropped us on a station surrounded by beautiful unutilized land. There was no body around; just buildings some distance away from us. We started walking to one side to reach a small market. We asked the location of "Flohmarkt", but they had no idea. One person then told us to go in the opposite direction some 2 kms far to some market. We found a bus stop on the road, but it was some time till the bus would come.

So we started walking. We reached the train station and continued walking; asking people on our way, but nobody knew. After a lot of walking, we felt very cold and there was no sign of such a market, so we turned back, all the way to the train station, got on the train and came back. So ended another happy adventure.

btw, sun was shinning really bright when we left home; and it was snowing heavily when we returned :)

Friday, March 04, 2005

Acceptance by Professor

After checking email today, i decided to call the professor. I called the professor in the evening. He told me that he has settled in somewhere today and just saw my email. That is why he didnt reply me. He said me welcome to the uni. (what a relief). Then we discussed some administrative issues and my residence in that city. Now, the next problem is to find a good place to live. So now i'll concentrate on that. Hope i find something good.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Still no reply!!!

I emailed the professor of my chosen university on Monday. Still no reply. What has happened? i dont wanna think...

I'll definitely call him if he does not reply till tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

University chosen

I decided today that i would go for uni of Kaiserslautern. It is a small group there, so professor can give me more time and i can finish my phd in time hopefully. The uni is in top 5 unis of Germany in Computer Science. I'll have to work with robots, which is good as i should do something new as well in phd, like a little hardware and electronics. I emailed today to the professor telling him that i have selected this uni and asking further processing.