Monday, December 10, 2012

Okay, no problem

Friday I ended up going into town (even though I wasn't going to, because I wanted a nice relaxing weekend before I head to Australia in 5 days), but there was a garment sale, 50 taka to get in and everything was 150 taka. I have a dearth* of casual hanging out clothes, which I was planning to rectify in Australia, but if I can get them for a lot cheaper here, might as well.

Light traffic. That's a CNG, the green thing. They're like
 three-wheelers with a cage.
Friday morning I woke up too early, because that's what I do, and decided to take a CNG into town so I could meet my library friend from another school. CNG's are officially my second favorite form of transportation (behind trains, of course).  We got to the sale early (it was supposed to start at 10 am), but they were already in full force at 9:40. Tons of people, crowded into a hot gym, sorting like madmen through stacks of H&M, Marks and Spencer, Lindex (a Swedish brand), and a bunch of other name brands that I can't remember.

First, you just grab anything you can find that might be even remotely your size. I'm plus sized, and was pleasantly surprised that I found a few things. Then you take your findings to a spot on the wall (it's best if you have friends, they can hold a spot for you and guard your stuff) and sort through everything. This is the best time to roam around, because you can get everyone's leavings after they've sorted. Finally, you take it to the register, they count the pieces, you pay (in cash, of course). I only got 9 pieces. And when I say only, let's compare that to my friends, who each got at least 25 (they were also buying presents, so it makes sense).
I bought a new scarf at Jatra, which is a fair trade store in Banani
It cost more than half of the clothes I bought in the
morning, but it was too pretty to pass up.

It was an experience. After lunch, we separated, I went to Nelo's for a mani/pedi/face threading and decided that I must always live in a country where I can get all three of those for under $15 (including tips). I may be addicted to pedicures. Then I took a rickshaw and did some shopping. The school now has a bus to take students places and transfer them back and forth from campus on the weekends. Normally it stays in town on Friday, but it needed to be back on campus on Saturday morning, so I rode back with them. Me, the driver, and a worker from the kitchen. I kept thinking it would be a good idea to pick up some passengers, get a little extra on the side (I'm sure I could sell seats for at least 300 taka, it's a nice, clean, new, air-conditioned bus), but decided against it.
The bus, on campus. I took this photo at 9:30 am, it's been this
foggy since last night. I love it.

No room for you inside the bus, okay, no problem.
The title of the blog comes from the driver, that's how he describes the Bangladesh people, especially their driving. There's a median blocking you from turning right (because we drive on the left here), okay no problem, we'll just go the wrong way down the road. You need to go straight, but there's a standstill of traffic, okay, no problem, we'll just inch through, going the wrong way.

I like that attitude. Okay, no problem.

*isn't dearth a great word, one of my favorites, next to exacerbate, alluvial, articulate, proverbial, incidental, villainous, and a whole bunch more. I could write a whole blog post about words I like.

Review: Attachments

This is not a YA novel, nor is it from the library. I was chatting on Gmail with a friend and she recommended this book. I 'm normally not one for chick lit (remember, relationships in books typically make me want to sing in technicolor?), but the recommendation comes from someone who has similar feelings. I'm so glad I picked it up. It was a perfect beach book. Not too much to handle, but enough that it kept you interested. Also, being the exact same age as the main characters, I can definitely relate to being single and wondering when your life is going to start. So, if you need a nice distraction, enjoy witty dialogue, with a nice side of wholesome romance, it would be a perfect book to buy (or download, which was my case).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review: Mortal Engines

In the future, after a terrible war where nations destroyed themselves and the world around them, entire cities will outfit themselves with engines and treads , taking to the destroyed landscape to hunt one another. Tom, a lowly apprentice Historian in the grand city of London, happens upon a great secret, one that takes him from his home, sends him out onto the desolate earth, and perhaps joining forces with the Anti-Traction League. Tom is torn between the past he has been fed in London and the startling truths he learns in the outside world, can he reconcile the two?
Mortal Engines, by Phillip Reeve combines elements of steam punk, dystopia, and a good old fashioned adventure story. The world of the future is terrifying and all too realistic. The adventure is over too soon, with a great cliffhanger ending, leaving readers wanting to pick up the next book in the series. Fans of Scott Westerfeld's Behemoth and Veronica Wroth's Insurgent will feel at home in this future world and Kids over the age of 13 should be able to handle the death destruction that is encountered.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Inadvertently learning to swear in Bangla

My Mother would like me to clarify something, she says I am not like a three-year-old sometimes, as I claimed in this blog post, I am like a three-year-old all the time. Last week, when a student said something to the effect of "making duty," and I had to bite my tongue to hold back the giggles, I decided she might be right.

My favorite story from last week involves a sixth grade student, who we'll call Milton, whose family is from Bangladesh, but he grew up in New York. Milton's Bangla skills are pretty minimal, he spoke it at home, but is not the most fluent. Last week, a ninth grade student, who we'll call Obama (because he's the class president), came to me because Milton was inadvertently calling another student the Bangla equivalent of the F-word (the queen mother of all swearwords). Milton, who is really just the sweetest boy, had thought he was calling him a chicken. He was somewhat embarrassed, but mostly laughed it off. The bonus of the story is that I learned how to swear in Bangla learned how to identify when the students are using that particular curse word (which they call slang, actually). It's a win-win situation.

Also, my library got cushions last week.

The only appropriate way to place them in the reading corner is to throw them.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Review: Call it Courage

Our sixth grade class was reading Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry and, since I was helping them with a PowerPoint project to go along with it, I decided to read along. I generally enjoyed the book, although the language is rather dated and it was difficult to visualize what the author was talking about at times.
Mafatu is afraid of the ocean, which is problematic considering he lives on an unnamed Polynesian island. Even more problematic is the fact that he is the son of the chief and his name means "Stout Heart". The time is coming when he should be learning to fish in open water, but his fear gets the better of him. One day, after hearing his friends mocking him in secret, he decides to prove them wrong, setting out alone on the open ocean, where he is thrashed by a great storm and shipwrecked on an island that may be inhabited by cannibals. Can Mafatu fend for himself and prove everyone wrong?
The greatest advantage of Call it Courage, by Armstrong Sperry, is that it is a fascinating peek into Polynesian life. This is also the greatest disadvantage, when we are left wondering what certain words mean, or are unable to imagine what certain activities are without any frame of reference. The writing is somewhat lyrical at times, making ample use of metaphors. Students in Grade 6 and above, who are not quite ready for My Side of the Mountain or Hatchet, will definitely enjoy this survival adventure.
Library Thing review here.

I meant to post this last week, but was ridiculously busy for some reason. I'm currently about halfway through Mortal Engines by  Philip Reeve. It's pretty much the definition of steampunk, which is good or bad, depending on your preference.