Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A bold step at KFC Mall Road Lahore

A guest-post from a friend (Ahsan Saleem):

Out of the blue, instead of going to relatively cheaper AFC (Mall road) I went to neighboring relatively expensive KFC. I haven't been to a KFC recently but the crispy chicken KFC ads have been tempting me for a while. With a watering mouth, and ready to go air wallet I entered KFC. Unlike its main branch (Barket market walee), the restaurant was almost empty with only a few tables filled, which I thought was an achievement of AFC. I hate rushy places so that came as a plus. The counter line was all empty and a girl with hijab was standing there.

Without wasting any time, I picked a menu and went off; I want this .. I want that upsize .. I want breast piece etc etc etc .. when suddenly the attendant at counter stopped me with a silent signal of her hand, and pointed to her ears with a negation. I was a little embarrassed or not.. I cant remember, but I surely felt surprised. I mean thats not common, I haven't seen that anywhere before. I spent some time in Beijing china some couple of years back and had developed a pretty pathetic sign language. It brought back old memories but the attendant was pretty quick and on the spot.

I started to realize that all of the walls were filled with posters teaching sign language and the menu appetizing me had sign language on it also. With in 10 minutes I was able to find a holding describing that KFC as a special branch being run by special ppl. I was happy to see someone in mainstream taking such a step. I had fun eating crispy chicken [ :) ] and practicing original and authentic sign language. Do try the KFC mall road.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

My first encounter with French language

Recently we decided to visit a French city near German border. It is called Strasbourg and is located at a three hours train ride from my city. We traveled on the "Happy Weekend train ticket" (a ticket that allows you to travel anywhere in Germany within one day) to a German city (Kehl) on the border of France. Where here, Strasbourg was lying over the river. We thought we should cross the bridge into France and then purchase a "full day ticket" in Strasbourg to make use of local transport. But the ticket office near the border was closed. The bus stops had no ticket machine and the bus drivers didn't sell "full day tickets". Worse, the drivers didn't speak either English or German. People at the border also didn't speak anything but French. So we used our natural instincts to ask for directions. We took the bus to the center of the city and climbed the highest cathedral in France there. It had more than 300 steps and induced hunger when we climbed down. We asked for a Turkish restaurant and ate a Halal Döner (shawarma) from there.

Then we set out to see the chocolate museum boasting to show chocolate manufacturing process and offering free chocolate. We took the tram to outskirts of the city till a bus station and asked a waiting passenger for further directions. He told us in broken English to take bus nr 50 after half an hour. The sun by this time was starting to burn. When the bus came, we showed the map and location of museum at which the driver asked us to take bus nr 2 with hand signals. We again waited and then got to the driver of bus nr 2. After showing him 3 maps of the region, he pondered for about 10 min and identified the place where we were standing on the map. Exhausted, we asked him about the museum and he began again searching the map and his brain. After about 10 more minutes he explained the directions in French to which he also didn't seem confident about. So we decided to head back to the city and took a boat tour around the city. The one hour tour showed us the European Parliament there. Then we took our dinner from a Bengali restaurant and headed back to Kehl with bus. The bus stopped in the middle for tne minutes to make us miss our train and wait for an hour for the next train. Once in Kehl we had to wait another hour for the next train. So we went inside the city coincidentally finding a loud festival there. We reached back at 2:30 am instead of 12:30 am. Pictures of the trip can be seen at Picasa.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Celebrating Labour day in Germany

1st May was a public holiday in Germany on account of Labour day. The graduate students union arranged a trip to a local garden-show including numerous dinosaur statues, ranked among the uniques in Europe. We gathered in the city center at 10 am, noticing that the police was stopping cars from going towards the city center. Soon a rally emerged from a side walking towards the city center. There were hundreds of people carrying slogans to increase the pays. Many of them were whistling and some were beating drums. There were also children carrying banners reading "increase the pay of my papa". But it was a very peaceful rally. I heard there was trouble at the rallies in biggest cities like Berling and Hamburg. We joined the rally for fun and walked with them to reach the Garden-Show. They scattered inside the garden where speeches were held on a stage. We left them to wander off in the garden.

The garden was publicising 1 million tulips from the start of April. This was a replica of the famous tulip show in the Netherlands. Half of the tulips had withered at this time. Then there were dozens of very big and very small dinosaur models. In the evening, we played cricket as on every holiday.