Moweena, my boua, is talking to someone in the house next to us, both out the window. Moweena is picking up Mohan’s stuff on the verandah and their chatting away like best friends. I don’t think it is an overstatement when I say that everyone talks to everyone in
This really does help to explain why so many people come up to me and ask me questions on a daily basis. A day doesn’t go by where someone has a conversation with me about what I’m doing here. They are not singling me out as a foreigner and pestering me, but rather acting how they would with any of their fellow countrymen.
One aspect of this, which I’m not sure causes the freedom to chat, or is an effect of it, is the way people address each other. The titles they use create the effect of having a big family, calling each other “brother”, “sister”, “uncle”, etc.
Today Mohan moved. We woke up early to help the rickshaw van drivers. We had to clear the room for them to get the bed, cabinet, and other furniture out for Mohan. There was no advance packing. Mohan that morning threw things on top of blankets, and then around the contents he tied the blankets into bags. Moweena really did most of the work for him. He had her pack all the blanket packages up. My assigned job was to wait in our flat and make sure nothing got stolen by the rickshaw van drivers who were doing the moving. I was also moving my stuff around into one neat pile so that they didn’t take any of that to Mohan’s new place. (pics: Moweena and Mohan sort through some of his stuff, a blanket splayed out with a pile of stuff on top, a blanket bag, the two rickshaw vans brining the second batch of Mohan's stuff down our street)
After the move was complete I got to by his new flat and see it. It is on the 6th floor, no elevator. Although huge, it’s cheap because it’s up so high. He has a lot of space to waste.
Moweena was very helpful today. She assisted so much during the move, and then came back with me after and helped me clean the whole place up. She swept the floor and then cleaned it with water. The place looked so much better. It allowed me to put everything in the right spots without having to worry about cleaning the floors later.
The rest of the day I spent setting up my house. I went to Pantha Path and bought a desk, a bed, a folding table, and two chairs. This involved a bit of bargaining and finding the best deals. Brought them home riding on a rickshaw van. Was an easy move up the stairs and setting up in the flat as they were all relatively small compared to the cabinet I brought last week.
I set my room up which was lots of fun. I still need a good desk chair, something to put my TV on, and somewhere to put all my toiletries. I decided not to have everything pushed against the wall, but instead make it a tad interesting with my mattress couch jutting out into the middle of the room. (pics: my bedroom at time of posting, opposite view of bedroom with my couch (which is a mattress), and my dining area in the front room)
Went back out and picked up my curtains form the tailor, and some light bulbs since I’ll need them when Mohan takes his.
When Mohan came back at night from work, to grab a few things. He was amazed to see what I’d done with the place. Shocked that I’d completely changed the room around.
Tonight I finished reviewing
Went to get coffee at Mango Café in Dhanmondi with Diya. Were there for an hour. Got an egg and cheese sandwich, interesting to see their interpretation of this staple of the American on-the-run breakfast. We walked back via
Bought a ceiling fan, need two, but found one for what I thought was a good price, and hopefully might find one cheaper elsewhere. Tried finding some blankets, but none were at any stores in my area. Later I decided I’m just going to buy bed sheets. No reason to buy a blanket if come summertime I won’t even want to use it, and I leave in early September. A thin sheet will suit me just fine.
In afternoon I went searching for some DVDs. Was looking for three: Glengarry Glen Ross, Dune, and
Found Glengarry Glen Ross after a lot of searching, but no one had
For dinner I met up with Karen,
Ending up eating at Kozmo Lounge. Were there for about two hours. Met
Tonight I finished
I spent some time researching
Went to New Market. Bought more bed sheets and kitchen supplies. Hopefully that’s the end of my supply shopping. Also checked out a TV stand and a medium sized cane shelf, which I might go back tomorrow and buy. This furniture was being sold street side. Bought a measuring tape to measure the places at home to see if they’ll fit.
In the evening played badminton for first time in awhile. Was fun. Went 2-2 tonight. Came home and heated up my dinner from what Moweena made this morning, egg curry!
Let me describe to you what it means to be the densest country in the world. Okay, so maybe
What does that mean? How do you make someone understand what that means? It is hard to show that in
But it’s not until you leave the city that the density of
Today I came almost to the end of my furniture shopping. I would like to find a desk chair as I spend most of time at my desk, but will go back to Pantha Path to find one. But today I bought from the side of
I just gave my rent and the rest of my advance. They explained to me how I’m going to get my advance back. I now understand that my two month’s advance is actually to partly pay for my last month’s rent. So when I leave in September, I don’t have to pay my rent that month. They will use part of the advance to pay my last month’s gas/electric bill too, so that I don’t “forget” to pay it. Ultimately, of the Tk12,000 I gave as an advance, I get Tk5500 back.
Mohan came by with a young electrician, who took out the fans, and installed mine. Mohan grabbed the majority of the rest of his stuff, and along with his brother-in-law, we all walked the stuff to Mohan’s place down the road. There the electrician installed Mohan’s fans. I also got to meet Mohan’s wife, and his son. His son is now 2.5 months old, his name is Rihan. An adorable boy. They referred to me as uncle.
On the topic of babies, many babies here have a black dot, about half an inch in diameter drawn on their forehead. It is called a “tip”, and its purpose is to ward off bad spirits from causing bad things to happen to the baby. The local belief is that the tip will keep the baby safe. The parents draw this on the baby’s forehead using what was described as something similar to mascara. (pic: look closely at the young kid next to the guy sitting in the window...above the kid's left eye is a tip)
Another tradition in regards to young children is to shave the heads of young girls regularly until a certain age. Tradition says that if this is done, the girl’s hair will come out much fuller when it is finally allow to grow. Thus, many young girls are seen with hair which is still very short at ages which you would expect it to be longer. (pics: young kids marching in a parade in Chittagong division...look closely to see that many of the girls have short hair, a mother and short-haired daughter at the Dhaka Zoo)
Today finished reviewing UC Berkeley, next up is Georgia Tech
Today was my first day of data collecting with the aim of actually keeping the data. It wasn’t practice anymore. Took four bus rides, and was feeling pretty good about the data collection. Started wondering with the data I am using, if I could simply collect from street side, and thus get more buses per hour. However, I began to realize that with the amount of activity that happens on buses when it is not at the stop, it is necessary to spend time actually riding the routes. This is especially true for local buses. Also decided that without time on the bus, I would not be able to see the effect crowding has on overall travel time. Might spend sometime curbside later to complement the work I’m doing now.
Bought many things today including fish, pohnir, and lentils for the first time. Excited for the cooking Moweena will do when I know there are more ingredients to vary the dishes
After coming back from research I’m pretty beat. And disgustingly sweaty. After eating I take a cold shower (unless I want to boil water, it’s always cold) and then watched a movie, read, went to bed.
Made a list of buses to ride this morning. I’m going to ride 3 buses of each type, 10 times. That’s 5 types for ticket buses, meaning 15 buses to ride, meaning 150 rides. If I can do four a day, that’s 37 days. I have enough time for that. Then afterwards I’ll do the local buses. I want to be done with the ticket buses my mid to late April
After doing my bus riding today, decided I had to scrap yesterday’s and today’s earlier data. I was missing things in my recordings that I wanted to have for all, and so I decided to only keep the later ones from today. One of the conductors on my last bus today asked what I was doing, as he saw I wasn’t getting off the bus. After telling him his expression seemed to say, “I can’t believe you’d CHOOSE to do this.”
Went by the
Stopped by DPavement on way home tonight, a neat restaurant that my friend Nipu keeps talking about. I was only asking to see their menu. But while I stood there for a less than a minute looking at it, the owner brought me a complementary lime juice felt great to my body, exhausted and hot from the bus all day.
Got a text message on my phone this morning from my cell phone provider, forwarding a message from the government telling people that it IS safe to eat properly cooked poultry and eggs even under bird flu conditions. Very interesting.
I’ve seen some restaurants and stores which have hung signs saying they no longer will be serving chicken or eggs during bird flu conditions.
So half of my apartment building’s staircase and garage got painted white, and the other half did not. What I think happened is that one landlord (who owns the flats on the right side of the building) wanted to paint the place white to make it nice looking, but the other landlord (who owns the flats on the left) didn’t. So they got in an argument, and the right-sider decided to paint it white to show that the left-sider was being ridiculous. So now when I climb the stairs, I climb through a hallway of white, I turn the corner, and then it’s not white anymore, and I turn the next corner and it’s white again, and so on. (pics: the ground floor of the my building...half-painted, my landing...half-painted)
Did four routes today. Did a fifth but sat in a bad seat and it just didn’t work out, I couldn’t count what I needed, so I had to scrap it. Not a bad day. Got the data I needed, and did it correctly.
It’s been storming really bad at nights, and nights only, for the past few. I always wake up in the late hours of the night and hear major gusts of wind blowing. Sounds like a hurricane out there. Last night it was accompanied by a major thunderstorm. (UPDATE: Found this news article on March 9, it tells of 74kmh winds in Dhaka these nights!)
Today heard music being played on a bus for the first time. That was weird. I feel like all day I have interesting stories that could be shared, but by the time I get home I’ve forgotten them all. At least I’ll say that I usually am well entertained by the day’s activities.