Saturday, October 6, 2012

Long weekend in Dhaka

My Dad reminded me that I hadn't blogged for 9 15ish days, forgive me, someone dropped their buckets of internet on the way from Dhaka and we had to scramble everwhere to get them picked up (that's how it works right, we have buckets full of internet access? it's no more ridiculous when you think of how it's actually set up).  Every six weeks we have a three day weekend, where the students are required to go home and spend some time with their families. Us teachers get three days to hang out in Dhaka, which gives us much more time to explore the city. I took advantage of the time.

We leave Wednesday afternoon, a much shorter drive into Dhaka than normal (it really should take only an hour, but with traffic, it can sometimes take four). This leaves us time to visit Wasabi, a sushi bar in the city (the apartment we stay at is in Uttara, which is north of the city). This leads to mocktails like this one, called Monkey Boys, and delicious sushi.

Thursday morning I went to Bushundhra City, the largest mall in South Asia. It was very large, 8 floors, with a rotunda in the center.
The view from the 3rd Floor

The Rotunda

Me and Julian (the new teacher on campus)

These are all jewelry stores, nowhere else had neon signs
A strawberry smoothie with tapioca pearls

After we went to a movie, which was edited for sexual content (but not violence or language) and the DVD skipped the most important scene in the movie. It ended up being more an anthropological outing than anything else.

After that, we took a half hour CNG ride. Many of you know of my unrequited love for public transportation (particularly trains, with no hyperbole, I adore train rides).

 CNG's, also know as baby taxi's are basically three wheeled motorcycles with seats on the back. They have a cage surrounding them. The ride was fun and cheap, 250 taka, which is about $3, (although my driver later said it should only have been 150 taka, I'm not going to quibble over a buck), plus I got the added bonus of being this close to a bus.

That guy hanging out the bus door is a spotter. He yells at drivers of other vehicles and collects the money for the driver.

Our driver, he kept turning around to look at us, it was a little nerve wracking 
I quizzed my driver  on the way back to our apartment about how much it costs to ride a bus (which depends on whether it has AC or not, and where you're going), he laughed a lot at the mental image of the big white girl riding a bus to Moana (which is 55 km north of Dhaka, where the school is). I imagine that would be the most packed bus, with all the people wanting to crowd around and stare (next blog post, I'll post pictures of crowds of people staring).

Thursday for dinner we went to Mainland China, a restaurant in Uttara. It was on the 14th floor and was delicious.

If you forgot your woolen shawl, they've got you covered.
I never forget my woolen shawl.
I'm a sucker for dim sum, and that was good. Also, reasonably priced, with leftovers for lunch the next day.

Friday was also packed, church, then a volleyball game (some of our students were in a tournament, while they didn't win any games, they did pretty dang good for having only practiced three weeks and never playing before that), then shopping (groceries and whatnot), then dinner, then driving home in the dark.

I've mentioned it before, but it deserves another mention, driving in Bangladesh is probably the most terrifying thing I've done in a while. At night, it's twice as bad because all you can see are headlights coming straight at you. Seriously, my life flashing before my eyes several times.

I vow to be a better blogger, once we stop losing internet access (not because we don't have the network set up, but because the ISP keeps slowing down the service coming from Dhaka).

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