Today finishes up 3 months.
Class was slow today. Last day before exam. Will be really sad when its all over.
After class, went to
Went to the bank to get Tk10 notes. I gave two Tk500 notes, and got one hundred Tk10 notes in exchange. Tk10 notes, as I’ve mentioned, are “worth” more than their value, since no one ever accepts a Tk500 note, but Tk10 are always being used. They are a hot commodity to hold onto. But now no worry, I have a plethora!
Spent most of the afternoon and late night studying for exam. Prepped one more time to make sure I knew all the names of the districts.
I went to Naira’s house for our first gaye holud dance practice. It looks like it’ll be 4 guys and not sure yet how many girls. The guys, I knew two already, are Naira’s younger brother’s friends. Her sister was there, the one getting married, so I met her the first time. We worked on Mast Kalander, which actually was one of the songs that was at the last gaye holud I went to…looks like we’ll be dancing to it too. Got sweaty. It’s a lot of fun. I can’t wait to perform. More on this later, but not much now, scheduled next practice for tomorrow. Think we’ll maybe practice every day now til wedding.
There are no ovens (okay, of course there are some) in
Today was the final exam. It had 5 parts: writing, listening, grammar, reading, and conversation. Then there was the final extra credit that we had set up, to name all the districts of
A bit sad to end. This was a fun class, and it was a great way to spend my first 3 months. I couldn’t imagine living in this country without knowing the language. I hope I can continue to improve now that the official education is over.
Badminton was fun tonight. I played 4 games. The first we lost 15-14. In
Still don’t understand the way they figure out who plays. There was an entire court open, and there were four of us sitting there waiting to play. So I asked why don’t we play. One guy told me tons of things in Bengali, and I couldn’t make out why. And when the other court’s game finished, only one man would get off, and only one new person would get on. So I just left, it looked like I was not going to be having another game. There is some sort of hierarchy here I think, and the younger guys are trying to work their way into it.
14th-3rd in Tangail 12/7
Today I went to Tangail.
Megan and I took a bus from Mohakali bus station. Never takes long to find one going your way, they’re everywhere. We bought a newspaper and read some of it on the bus. Also played some 9-card after I taught her how to play.
We arrived in Tangail, and asked a rickshaw to take us to a place where we could get some good food. He took us a bit into town from the bus station to a place that looked pretty good. We told him not to wait. Lunch was rice, mutton, spinach with shrimps, and dhal. All served very quick as usual.
The ride to Atia Mosque, our final destination, was supposed to be 3 miles but seemed a lot longer. It’s slow going on a rickshaw for 3 miles. At one point, a piece of wood on his rickshaw snapped, and we felt it was our fault even though the wood was rotting. Either way we decided we’d give him more when it came time to pay. We crossed many very green and yellow fields. People farming. Several small bridges, which sometimes required us to get down from the rickshaw because it’s too hard to make it up the hill. Went through several villages. Bumpy ride at many points. Sounded like the driver was grumbling at points. (pics: Tangail fields)
Well he brings us to a place we didn’t expect, Atia Mosque, but not the right one. It is actually a mazar, which I don’t know what the difference is. Atia Mosque we are looking for was built in 1608, this structure at which we have arrived was built in 1988. hmmm. Big difference.
We tried to figure out what to do now. We had to get back to make the bus. We thought maybe we should just get some petha and some tea. But then this younger guy around our age came up to us. He asked what we were doing. In English. We chatted for a bit, and then figured why not ask him if he knew where the other Atia Mosque is. He said of course, this way, and starts walking us. Low and behold, it was right around the corner, maybe 100 meters down the road. Wow, if he had not found us, we literally would’ve gone so close but so far. Thanks to him, we made it to our destination. He offered to show us around.
The mosque was built in 1608 and refurbished at some point in the last century, it was in great shape. Our new guide took us around. The place wasn’t very big. Maybe 30 meters long, 15 meters wide, and 6 meters tall, with an additional 3 meters of the main dome on top. It was very ornamented, with incredible detail carved into the exterior walls. It’s still in use. We arrived during the afternoon prayer, and there were people praying inside. It had one large dome on top, three smaller domes toward the front side. Four minarets, one at each corner. In the front, three arched doorways. At the back, a pond. There was a crypt in the front. The photo session in front of the mosque was humorous, our friend wanted to take photos with only me, not Megan (even though he was talking to her more)…but was inviting complete strangers to take pictures with us. Although we were only there for 20 minutes or so, since he rushed us around and out, it was enough to make its impact. I’m not sure if we had enough to time to absorb, so much was happening so quick. (pics: Atia Mosque in Tangail viewed from back side at pond, Atia Mosque's front side, myself next to one of the minarets, guide/me/stranger in front of Atia Mosque, ornamented exterior wall close-up, Megan in front of Atia Mosque)
He then helped us arrange a way to get back to Tangail to catch a bus back to
In the village, got some petha and jumped in the tempo to go back to Tangail. Tight squeeze. At one point, some passengers got off, and some others got on. A boy with down syndrome was with his family who got on. And since we all couldn’t fit in back, someone needed to go up front. The only other man besides the boy had a small child with him. So once I realized what all the commotion was about, I told them I’d sit up front. Sitting up front involves hanging on for dear life as you squeeze to one side of the driver, on a seat not meant for more than two…and there’s a third guy on the other side of the driver. Some tempos I saw had 4 guys in the front seat! (pic: front seat passenger in a tempo holding on)
Bus ride home was feeling very long. Stuck in Savar for a bit in traffic. At beginning of bus ride a man came onto the bus selling hard boiled eggs. For Tk 6 he would peel the egg, cut it down the middle, and then sprinkle spices on it. Everyone wanted one it seemed, so we got one as well. I was surprised to find that it was warm.
Megan and I ate at a restaurant which I’m considering one of the better ones I’ve been to in
Went to the head instructor Farah’s house for a picnic. One reason for the picnic was to celebrate the completion of our course, but a lot of Farah’s family was there too, so perhaps it was already planned and we were invited along. Good food, and very greasy. The meal was termed a “picnic” but was different than what picnics are considered in the
I was told once that this time of year is picnic season, where people have picnics. But they said it in the context that people go somewhere to have these picnics, like a park. So perhaps other picnics would be outside, but I’ve heard, still the same food as you would eat at other times of the year.
I know have a better understanding on why the Jatrabari-Gulistan flyover isn’t being built after spending a good part of my day collecting sources. This article covers what happened earlier this year best. First, it was determined by a committee which had some BUET professors on it that the project’s on/off ramps were going to make overall traffic worse in the area, because they would obstruct traffic flow on the roads below. Five of the thirteen ramps were proposed to be removed in the revised plan. It was said that the builders of the project proposed those ramps not to improve the traffic but to increase revenue by being able to collect more tolls (more access points would mean more people getting on the flyover.) Also, it was said that the builders of the project used bribery and corruption to win the project improperly. There is a big issue over how much they said it would really cost and the like. Folks in the DCC and in the building groups who gave it the go ahead apparently did not follow ethical procedures. All of this has lead to the project being stalled, even after breaking ground.
Had lunch with Toma at
Well I was a bit saddened by my
Did a lot of reading on my first day of research! Read the first part of the Dhaka STP, and went through many internet articles seeing what projects are currently happening in
Dance practice was not really successful tonight. Only half of us showed up and only could practice pieces of two dances. So tomorrow night we’ll meet up again. So right after I went next door with some of Naira’s friends/family and played badminton. Got three games in. I really need to learn how to smash and hit it to the backcourt. Then I’ll be a more complete player.
I left my keys at the badminton house I think….gotta go back tomorrow to get them.
Today was a bit hectic in the middle. I didn’t get much sleep last night because of fantasy football. Woke up and looked into it. left some guys on the bench who scored lots of points. After breakfast was working on the computer, not research, when saifullah called. Told me to come by the aktel office
Went by the Aktel office because Saifullah called me up to come by. He’s just left Aktel, and was dropping in only because our trip this weekend has many Aktel folks coming along. Met some of the guys going. We’re planning to play some cricket and badminton on top of the mountain we go to, so we’re making sure to bring our sports stuff. Also heard my ad will be out soon enough, things got held up somewhere. Pictures will come I promise.Went to guide tours to find out some details. Saw my permission papers were completed to get me into Bandarban as a foreigner.
Went by the house I was at last night and asked about my keys. Glad I could be understood by the guard about what was happening. He told me to come back at 7 when the home owner would be home. I did during dance practice since Naira’s house was right next door.
Got more reading done on the STP and looking up current projects here in
Talked to Sandee for 3 hours this morning on Skype, first time we’ve talked since I’ve arrived. But once she got Skype, it didn’t take long for us to plan this.
Dance practice was good. After a slow start, sitting around and eating for about an hour and a half, we finally started doing some things. Tashfique and Tawfique did their dance first, and then later Tawfique showed us the dance for Dekha Jo Tujhe Yaar. Pretty cool. Can’t wait to perform all these. Dance practice, even when we don’t do much, is very fun. Tomorrow we’ll work on the same dances again.
After, went by Ishfaq and Ishraq’s place to meet with Nafisa and them about the concert we’d been planning to benefit Sidr victims. Nafisa and I had first talked about this last week over dinner at Khalid’s place and that’s when I jumped on board, but this week things have started to materialize over email, and tonight, us four organizers finally all got together to talk about the budget and things that need to happen before Eid.
Anyway, we were trying to nail some really big bands for this, and a big name venue. I didn’t want to bring this up in the blog until I really knew some good details, so as not to release things too early. But we have confirmed some pretty major acts. Top of the list is Warfaze, Aurthohin, Artcell, Black, Nemesis, Vibe, Powersurge, and Radioactive. Some of the biggest bands in
Interesting thing Farhan told me today. I was trying to set up with him when I can go by his home to use his landline phone, since I need to use it for my Fulbright exit language test…for the language grant. Anyway, he told me he may not have class next week. I asked why, and he said students are demanding an earlier break. He says that, as a private university, this happens at his school a lot. They demand more break so they can go home for the holidays, and the school usually gives it. Is this common for private universities? Or just here? I have no clue. But I was shocked the students could influence the faculty that much by promising a walk out.