This morning I called my sister Sandee to wish her a happy birthday! She was very happy to receive the call, even though it was short. She also still had one hour to go until her birthday even started, but I told her it’d already been her birthday here for nine hours!
An article on me and my blog was posted in this month’s NC State engineering e-newsletter. I’ve posted the link on the sidebar as well.
Spent the day at home mostly processing data. Went out to get some errands done, including faxing our Rangamati permission stuff again to the Deputy Collector. No one said this would be easy.
In the evening I headed over to Baridhara. Tonight is the July 4 party, even though it’s May 28, at the
I met up with Erin and Karen at
There was lots of snack food, and a lot of it representing 4th of July fare. I was extremely happy to see hot dogs, full sized, just cut up into sections. I at least ate one full one across the evening. Mini-jumbo pretzels, mini fried chicken, skewers of summer fruit, and brownies topped off the summer feast!
Today I saw that Google Maps was updated for
Called the Deputy Collector of Rangamati again, hoping they got my fax or courier service package. Well they didn’t, but they said they would, and the guy on the phone made it seem like we don’t even need permission. We’ll see.
This morning I found out a bit more about Moweena: she has two children and they still live in her village with her father. She also has a granddaughter from her son. She lives in
I headed out the buses with the hopes of getting four done. Well combining a #12 bus which cut its route short, another #12 bus which I had to get off early, a #13 bus which wasn’t doing its full route, and a #13 bus which took two hours, I only got two full buses done. Local buses are much harder to research than ticket buses.
Today Ben arrived at . They wouldn’t let me in the fenced in area where Ben would walk out of. So I had to wait outside the gates and watch for him. Finally he came out, and I looked for an army officer to ask if I can enter, but all were occupied. So I insteade I walked right through the gate, yelled “BEN!” twice, and he heard me, turned, and we gave each other a big hug.
Took a CNG back home, talked for a bit. He told me that my photo from the Aktel ad is now in the airport in the baggage claim area. I had no idea, and have no clue how long it’s been up. He thought I knew and that’s why he didn’t take a picture.
Although it was hot, we decided to go for a walk, and went around part of
Coming home we both passed out. I napped for about three hours, Ben about five.
We went by New Market in the evening. Headed to my tailor to see about buying this shirt I wanted to get and thought Ben would like too. But they were out of the material. We also looked into buying some suits. Ben bought his first lungi, as well as some sandals to wear when it rains. It poured as we came back by rickshaw. More than I’ve seen here. We got pretty soaked, even though we got on the rickshaw just in time.
We started watching a movie at home, Good Luck Chuck and the power went out twice. So at one point we just went to get dinner at my favorite hotel. Although it wasn’t very late, the place was more empty than usual. Ben got to eat his first real filling of rice.
Both of us felt a little bit sick this morning when we woke up. Ben felt sick because of a headache, myself because of typical stomach problems. After these had passed and we’d had a big breakfast of rice and dal, we headed out to see some sights.
First was BUET, and I took him around the standard tour of the campus, seeing all the sights. He specifically enjoyed the views from the top of the
We then walked over to Shahid Minar, Was surprised we weren’t surrounded by beggars, and the place was quieter than usual on a normal day. We sat around for awhile as we were getting quite hot and tired and there was some shade to be found. (pic: Ben in front of Shahid Minar)
Then we walked over to
From there we took a bus to Baridhara where we were meeting up for flag football at the
We went to the tailor in the morning. We had spent the morning researching about fabrics and styles to learn more about what we wanted to buy. We looked at my suits and shirts I’ve already gotten tailored, and checked out their measurements. At the tailor we spent a lot of time choosing our fabrics, ultimately buying four shirts each and material for a suit. We then went upstairs and got measured. We’re excited to see our stuff come out in a week and a half weeks. (pics: Ben choosing his fabric for shirts, Ben getting measured for his suit)
We had lunch at Ayon’s, and after lunch, his mother invited us over again for a lunch on Wednesday. Before and after we sat and talked with Ayon, and at one point Ayon showed us pictures from his family albums.
From there Ben and I headed to Nazira Bazar to buy some rickshaw art. We each bought some pieces after checking out a few stores. The most humorous one we saw was where the artist painted a city scene where a train had collided with a truck on the train tracks and driver was lying through the truck window bleeding…who paints that?!? (pics: one of the old buildings in Nazira Bazar of Old Dhaka, rickshaw art for sale in Nazira Bazar)
Then headed around town trying to buy a bus ticket. This proved to be more difficult as I thought, but I guess I’m used to that. We passed by Baitul Mukarram and I showed it to Ben as we passed. It is interesting going around with Ben here as he tells me a lot about the differences between here and
39th-6th in Bogra 6/2
We headed out to Bogra today. The bus was a smooth ride, but hit some major showers halfway through, making us have to close the bus windows. It was a magnificent storm, flooding the roads we drove on and reducing our bus to a crawl as the visibility went to zero. But by the time we arrived in Bogra, the rain had ended.
In Bogra we took a rickshaw to a hotel we wanted to stay at the main bus terminal called the Safeway Motel. The place was nice and looked deserted, but low and behold, they were booked up for the night! Wondering what to do, the hotel owner eased our concerns and stared calling every hotel in the area on his own accord. Finally he found us a hotel after about 10 minutes, just down the road. I wasn’t quite sure where it was, but he said no worries, and told his private car to take us there. Such service without even asking!
Our hotel was really nice, called the Bogra Resort. It was on top of a few shops doing car repair. We got some lunch after checking in at a street side restaurant. It didn’t have running water and we didn’t dare drink the water they gave us. The food was ridiculously spicy, and both of us had runny noses while we ate and were left gasping for breath.
After, we got on a local bus to take us to Mahasthan. This village is the site one of the oldest known settlements in
From there we walked to the Citadel, the one that is almost a mile long. We walked along its outer wall for its full length, encountering several people on the way inquiring about our nationality. The Citadel was empty of anything historical on the inside except for a few mounds with a bit of brick work spotted here and there. Instead, the entire interior was being farmed and people were going about their daily work on this ancient site. (pics: Ben at the entrance to the Citadel, myself with the interior of the Citadel being farmed behind me, Ben standing along the outer wall of the Citadel, unrestored portion of the wall)
We bought some mangoes and took a bus back to Bogra, spending a little bit of time walking around the city’s center main market. Got scared at one point that I’d been robbed as I got surrounded by some guys and then later I noticed my backpack was open. Got scared, nothing happened, I likely left the pocket open.
Went back to the hotel and had dinner. Had to wait an hour and a half while they made it. They gave us a table in the corner of large dining room, we were the only ones in the hotel eating there. One guy serving us. Good meal though, they cut the mangoes we bought for us. Enjoyed watching the cable TV in our room while we waited for dinner.
39th-7th in Paharpur 6/3
Grabbed a bus and headed to Paharpur. This was a good distance away. First leg was to take a local bus to Jaipurhat, and from there, another local bus to Paharpur village. Finally from Paharpur village, the historical sights there are a rickshaw ride away down a bumpy road. It was not easy to reach
We arrived to the Somapura Mahavira site in Parharpur and got surrounded by tourist shop owners! I’ve never seen anything like this in
We bought our tickets still with the tourist hawkers following us. The museum inside was lacking a map of the site, which really would have helped in comprehension. But a large brass image of the Buddha uncovered at the site was featured at its center, and that was a neat highlight.
Somapura Mahavihara, the monastery located at Paharpur, was at one point the largest monastery south of the
Ben and Somapura Mahavira behind him as seen from the museum, We walked the site taking photos, and at one point got accompanied by a Department of Archaeology tour guide who followed us the entire time giving facts about the site. The place was pretty empty. We asked about that, and he said that the site is more visited during the winter, with about 1000 visitors a month during the winter, and only about 500 a month during the summer. Foreigners show up he said, about 30 a month during the winter, and only two to five a month during the summer. So we could’ve been the only foreigners to show up all month! At one point one of the sellers popped out of nowhere trying to sell us Cokes. I had to strongly insist we didn’t want any before he’d leave. He must’ve walked ½ a mile to try to sell those to us. (pics:Somapura Mahavira's central stupa, myself/Ben in front Somapura Mahavira's central stupa as seen from the wall of the monastery, the wall of the monastery with the residential cells for the monks)
We saved the central stupa for after we’d walked the entire monastery’s outer wall. We circumambulated the stupa on all three levels, looking at all the carvings and noticing the different views. On the top level, where the Buddha images would have been, there were stairs up to where there was an opening in the brick work. We were told to walk up and look in, and after climbing up there, I did get a bit nervous standing on the very thin ledge. (pics: myself sitting on the steps of Somapura Mahavira, Ben looking up at the top (and at a goat) from the bottommost level, Ben on the ledge looking into the opening which would've been above an image of Buddha, looking down on the thin ledge and Ben below)
Our tempo back to Jaipurhat was leaking fumes really bad, and I had to cover my nose with my shirt as a filter, it was real bad. In Jaipurhat the only buses still to leave for the day going back to
In Bogra we asked around and found a counter selling tickets to
So it came to be that I had my first fight in Bengali tonight. After it became apparent that it was pretty much an outsourced hitchhiking, I got mad. I felt they lied to me saying I had specific seats on a specific bus, yet it was just an overpriced ticket for them to yell at each bus that passed. I would not have minded that, or been angry, if they’d just told me from the start that this is what they were doing. But they kept denying even when I called them out on it. I ended up fighting with one of the guys, and going on a long tirade about how we’d now be stuck arriving in
As fate would have it, just as the partner of the guy I was yelling at was about to give our money back, a bus came by that they flagged down which had space for Ben and I. So Ben and I got to go on with our outsourced hitchhiking ticket. They had plenty of seats. And no one ever came to us saying we were in their seats. The bus was off to