When the World Comes to You

It goes without saying that the benefits of travel can be huge:  the stimulation of seeing new things, meeting new people and learning about other cultures.  But it comes at a cost — not just in terms of money and time — but in terms of the attendant little stresses that come with travel such as getting up in the wee hours to catch a plane or other minor (and sometimes not so minor!)  logistical anxieties.

So it’s pretty great when you can get some of the benefits of travel without ever having to leave home.  That’s the case right now at Chicago Tonight with our visiting Pakistani journalist, Mansoor Ali Khan.  Mansoor is an anchor with GEO News in Karachi — think of CNN — and is with us for the month of October as part of a journalism exchange program.  He’s giving us some fresh insights into our own culture by contrasting it with his.

Some examples:  he and his co-workers in Pakistan give each other hearty handshakes every morning when they first see each other (can you imagine doing that every morning here?)  And the concept of personal space can be different, too (he felt motivated to move a chair in my office a little further away from its original spot right next to my desk when he sat in it.)  We laughed about it.  And the food portions here can be enormous compared to Pakistan.  He says, in Pakistan his wife will order a “single” order of rice and he typically orders a “double” order.  When he orders a dish with rice in it here, it’s the equivalent of a “quadruple!”

And there are more sobering differences, too:  being a journalist in a country that’s dealing with instability, a threat from terrorists and religious extremists can call for personal resources that many of us in this country might simply not have.  Check out Mansoor’s blog on our website for more insights from a smart, observant visitor with a keen eye for detail.


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