Dance practice, showed up, but no one else did. So after talking to Naira’s sister for a bit, came home and went to play badminton.
I’ve been posting to skyscrapercity.com for
Got a lot done with the concert today. Got contacts from Diya for Radio Foorti, one of the biggest radio stations here, and amadergaan.com, a big website concert promoter. It’ll be great to have both of these on board. Arranged that Diya will cover our concert for The Daily Star. And got the band lineup together, and arranged how much time each will play.
Flags are everywhere. Victory Day is approaching! At every major intersection several men are selling large flags, small flags, and every size in between. Headbands you can wear, and flags to hang from your car antenna. They are all hand made. Victory Day is Dec 16th, and it’s the day
Met up with Saifullah and other folks going on the trip at Fridays Fast Food for lunch and a briefing on what’s up with the trip this weekend.
Dance practice. We practiced two songs tonight a little. Found out how big the stage was. We’ll be putting 4-10 people per song on a stage which is 8’ x 12’
Got picked up by Rana to head off to the bus to Bandarban. Headed to the bus station. Bus came a bit late. Another foreigner on the trip, her name was Claudia, a mathematician from
15th-3rd in Bandarban 12/14
Arrive at rest stop at in the middle of nowhere. And it was packed!!! Tons of buses, and everyone was eating meals. So much commotion for such an hour. What was crazy, was that all the buses left at the same time! We were one of the last of about 30 buses to leave, and I swear, the complex was empty after. There must be scheduled meal times at this rest stop that buses know about, because there was no reason for it to be a mad rush at , and not a single bus arriving after. Were there for 20 minutes but I wasn’t really hungry. Instead stood and watched buses zoom by on the narrow 2 lane highway, and talked to the guy who was directing the buses in and out of the parking lot.
The highway from
Dozed off and woke up when we got to
The hill tracts are the only place in
Too bad it’s hard to get to for foreigners. Checkpoints are along the way to Bandarban when you get close. It’s because the hill tracts, which is where Bandarban is, have been known for outbursts of violence and attacks on visiting groups in recent times. I had to have prior permission from the government to enter here. I had to check in at the border of the district. Signed a log and they checked my passport and my permission papers. It was a very intimidating procedure. At some checkpoints, a police officer came on the bus and checked it for things. They are very serious about not allowing more problems to happen here. Especially to foreigners. That’s why the government does what it can to keep foreigners out. If something happens to the foreigner, it’s on the back of the government, and it’s a burden they’d rather not hold, so best to keep foreigners out as much as possible.
Arrived, and had breakfast. Would be the same breakfast every day. Some perota, potato and veggies, and an omelet. Beautiful view from the whole resort. It’s the guide tours resort. Nice place, well kept. Several cabins, some made of woven materials, and on stilts, so the floors are bouncy. I was in the dorm with the other bachelors. About 8 of us in there, no bouncy floor though. (pics: dining hall, dorm bedroom)
A few of us, before lunch, hiked down to the
Went to Tiger Hill in the afternoon, a
Later to a very touristy spot which surrounded a lake. Had a zoo and many food vendors. Plus two very rickety rope/plank bridges. I didn't appreciate those very much. I knew my dad wouldn't either. Also ate sugar cane for the first time. Very difficult for me for some reason. Supposed to peel off the outside with your back teeth and my teeth hurt for a few days because of this. I didn't get very far with it. The place also had a small zoo with a bear, monkeys, and deer. (pics: trying to chow down on sugar cane, on the rope/plank bridge with Imran and Hasan)
Showered at some point in the icy cold shower.
15th-4th in Bandarban 12/15
Got in trucks and headed to a mountaintop over 25 km away. This place had an army outpost. On the way there, crossed some pretty rickety bridges. Some villages along this road, which pretty much snaked along the top of the mountains. Pretty bad conditions on the road. Very bumpy. One guy threw up. (pics: snaking along the mountains in our vehicles, Ashrafi and girlfriend holding on for the rickety ride, roaming around at the army outpost, Imran/myself, sign saying your cell phones actually get reception here, everyone taking advantage of the cell phone reception they found...not much in the hill tracts)
Second stop was the top of one the most easternmost mountains in
Stopped at one more mountain before seeing our fourth stop which was a waterfall. But since this is the dry season, wasn’t much water at all. very dry. But still very slippery. Almost took a big fall. Others did. Meandered through the river bed. Some village women were washing clothes in the river, and taking baths with their sarees on. (pics: posing in the river with Ashrafi/Parvej/myself/Badruddoza/Imran, view down the river, women washing clothes in the river, the waterfall but without the water since its the dry season)
After lunch and nap everyone went to see a Buddhist temple. Apparently one of the biggest in
Came back for dinner. Was BBQ chicken!! Yumm and French fries too. Good job on the chicken. After dinner, one guy on the trip, Popel, played guitar for everyone, and they sang some Bangladeshi rock/folk songs, but I didn’t know any.
Wore a lungi for the first time today. This is the national dress for men, as a saree would be for women. It’s a big piece of fabric in the shape of a cylinder, so no ends. You tie it basically by pulling it tight against you, twisting the top until its snug, then tuck the ends of the twisted fabric into the waist…and it holds up. Very comfortable. No underwear below. Very popular for men to wear this around the house. I’m definitely going to buy one. It’s useful for also changing your clothes among other people. (pics: sporting a lungi for the first time, posing with Badruddoza)
Today was the bus ride home. Had breakfast and we headed out. Sat next to Claudia on the bus again. Talked a bit about her time in the
If I haven’t talked about the flag yet, I’m linking it here to describe it, but I have yet to find why the circle is where it is. What is the meaning, if you know…please comment!! The flag is everywhere today! Buildings, cars, kids, stores, homes, rickshaws, CNGs, buses…all had flags out. It’s very patriotic. Cool to think just 36 years ago, on this land, a war was won to give this country its freedom.
Saw a quick glimpse of the ship deconstruction yards between the trees. Incredible sight even for just a second. Saw a half dismantled ship just docked on the sand. Wow! Want to find a way to see this up close.
Saifullah told me I won’t be able to move into tomorrow because my future roommate won’t be at home. That he’d gone home to his village. I was surprised, we had made plans. So wasn’t sure when I’d be moving now. Didn’t find this information out until today. Wonder how I would’ve found out if I hadn’t asked Saifullah about him helping me move. Oh well.
Came home. Hung out with Megan at Margherita Pizza and scarfed down a cheese pizza. Went back to her house and met Tony, the professor whose house she’s living in while he’s away. He’s back for 2 weeks or so. He’s a professor at NCSU, but also is the organizer of my language program. He had just gotten back from
Woke up and saw parents had called. Called Sandee on skype and told her I had been asleep. Set up a time to talk tomorrow.
Had lunch with Tony, teachers, and Erin. Went to Déjà Vu Café, I feel like I’d been there before…haha.
Good food. Salad bar which was very ornate, but really had tomatoes and cucumbers prepared in four different ways, some sliced baby corn, some random peppers and onions, and 6 dressings. And egg and crouton. Got some seafood soup which was good. Some roast beef for lunch. And a crepe for desert. Tony treated.
Dance practice was fun/productive. We got a lot done, now have 4 songs I know.
Spent time reading this morning and afternoon. Going through the STP slowly. Very complete document. Really covers so many aspects of the city’s past, present, and future transportation issues. Never knew how much went into this. I guess I’ve thought of all of this before, but to see it done so thoroughly is impressive.
Fixed with Nafisa more details about the concert, and talked about my visit to her place in
Bought my first lungi. Should be very comfortable to sit around in at home. Also some underwear, and not knowing what size to buy since the measurement system was different from what I know, asked the guy in the bazaar what he wore. He proceeded to laugh at me. Anyway, bargained the price of the underwear down to 70% original cost, but when I got home, found it to be too small. After dropped in to cofi 11 for some coffee and ice cream and brownie and hung out there until dance practice.
Dance practice was great. Practiced all 4 songs I was in several times, and felt like we were doing them pretty well. Found out how we specifically are incorporating the firespinning into one of our dances. It’s all going be pretty exciting. Watched the girls do their dance, and watched the two guy/girl dances I’m not in. It’s all going be a great show!
Hung out with Faisal, Megan, and Kira after. Kira was in the same language program with Megan this summer. She was visiting from Kolkata for a few days where she is studying her 3rd year of Bengali. Went to cofi 11, my 2nd time today, and we had dinner.
Language test at tomorrow morning on the phone…thus gone to bed early. Its for the Fulbright’s language grant, so they can evaluate if their invested money was well spent on me.