It’s like someone at the Avari Hotel has been reading my blog. This time around when I checked into the “Lady Avari” wing, there was my pound cake, snug in a little box waiting for me to devour. It’s the little things that make my stay in the woman-only floor worthwhile, Avari. Good work.I was in Lahore for half the week on a short-term assignment. The work was good, even if the beginning of the trip started inauspiciously. Here I am seconds after stepping into a huge, squelchy, and deceptively innocent-looking pile of mud upon arrival at the Lahore airport. I survived with the aid of my very helpful driver who tracked down a bottle of water and helped me wash off my foot and flip-flop, though the latter will never be the same. This photo also shows way more skin that can ever be shown appropriately in a public place like the Lahore airport. But, ah, American habits–like showing flesh above the ankle–die hard.

As for Pakistan these days, it feels a bit crazy. The terrorist attacks have ramped up since the beginning of the month, and it seems every week there is some fresh and terrible news. I continue to feel insulated from the danger (please continue to worry only minimally about me), but it is horrible to see Pakistani lives being lost in these incidents. The one on Tuesday at Islamic University in Islamabad was especially awful: targeting college students, including ones at a women’s cafeteria. There was also an earthquake last night, although I slept right through it. (Benefit of growing up in California.)But the work here continues to be interesting–development in Pakistan is a hot topic of news even in the US these days, and you can’t turn on the news here without seeing footage about the Kerry-Lugar bill recently passed by Congress and speculation about the new gajillion dollars that is going to be spent here in the next five years. Of course it is going to affect all the work being done here for quite some time.

I’ll end with the one thing that makes everything better: that’s a care package of course. I got a fabulous one from my sister last week that was like autumn in a box: pumpkin bread mix (one of the many things you can’t buy at Kohsar Market), fall leaves, Charlie Brown Halloween stickers, and some perfect escapist reading for those early-darkening autumn nights…

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