Not feeling too great today. Went to get breakfast and could only nibble on my food. Just no appetite.
Started a movie at home. Kind of worked on my data, doing some data pre-processing. Went out for lunch and had some soup and a desert called faluda, which is tasty and an array of various items: vermicelli, apples, raisins, pistachios, honey, sugar, and bananas. The wikipedia article calls it a drink, but here in Bangladesh its certainly a dessert and needs a spoon. Other sites call the version I ate Sheer-e-faluda
I feel like I’ve been taking more CNGs and taxis recently. Mostly it’s late at night and I’m coming home from Gulshan, or I’m hanging out with someone who doesn’t really want to ride buses.
To supplement the lack of text, here are some random things I’ve snapped photos of recently:
I found some Bangladeshi karaoke thing being sold at Rifles Square. (pic: "World's First Bangla Karaoke" on display at Rifles Square with a customer belting out a song in front of his friends as the Bengali words flash on the screen)
Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” translated into Bengali. I had stopped to consider buying Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, which was not translated into Bengali (pic: Mein Kampf translated into Bengali being sold at Nilkhet Market)
Vin Diesel’s Triple X movie at a Bengali cinema, not sure if it’s dubbed or not. (pic: Triple X in theaters now...or as they called it, Triple Cross)
A fire station with some ancient looking fire trucks. (pic: fire station in Dhaka)
People getting Tahitian apples (Bengali: amra) ready to sell for the day, they’re enjoyed with salts on top and are quite sour, but are refreshing in the heat. The centers have thick fibers that aren't eaten. They are very popular for selling to bus riders. (pics: peeling and cutting the Tahitian apples for the day, a bowl full of Tahitian apples ready for selling)
Speaking of fruits. I'm beginning to see the fruits that were out when I first arrived. Mangoes are being seen less and less, while pineapples have been out for awhile and pomelos are hitting stands, although small ones.
48th-2nd in Dhaka 7/31
Work was good. I collected data at Kalabagan for the AM peak period. I then was able to get four buses done. It was a feeling of success. I’m blasting through this data collection, and will be glad to be done at the end. I’m still not taking long breaks on the buses, and it’s definitely showing in my efficiency. I could’ve done a 5th bus today if I had really felt up to it.
I don’t put enough pictures of the traffic or buses up here. So here are a few shots I’ve taken recently under bad conditions. (pics: Mirpur Road at Science Laboratory during the early evening, rickshaws backed up at Science Laboratory in the early evening and also note the silly looking billboard in the top left which I chuckle at every time I pass by, Airport Road at Banani/Kakoli bus stands in the middle of the day)
And here are some photos I’ve taken recently for stock footage I’ll need for future reports on this. (pics: alighting from a moving bus in a sharee cannot be easy, boarding a moving bus can leave you struggling for your balance not to fall out, a beggar begs for change at Gulshan-1's west side bus stand as a Winner bus pulls up behind him, typical ticket counter)
Instead of doing a 5th bus, I went to a goodbye dinner for my friend Luke. I wish I could’ve hung out with him more, but I had so many vacations while he was here. We had sushi at a Japanese restaurant, my first time having sushi since being in Raleigh! Not even close to as good as Sushi Blues, but still tasty. After we went to the Bagha Club and toasted him off with a few beers.
48th-3rd in Dhaka 8/1
I went over Ayon’s for the day. His mother served a great lunch to us. His sister and her husband were also there visiting. Her husband told me he will be in Chennai for the next three months, so I’ll be able to meet up with him when I go there for my conference. Later his aunts came by, to talk to their niece, so Ayon, her husband, and I were left hanging out in Ayon’s bedroom. I left after sharing tea with everyone.
I came home and finished watching a movie I’d started the other day and then went and got dinner.
After coming home, the guys who live downstairs and invited me in. We chatted for awhile at their place, about random topics. I then mentioned to them that I’ll be selling my furniture, and that if they’d like to take a look, they are very welcome. So they came up, and I showed them my place. They were interested in the TV, DVD player, fridge, and kitchen set. They’ll be living here, the five of them in one flat as big as mine, for 4 more years so buying this stuff is quite a good investment for them.
48th-4th in Dhaka 8/2
I posted my blog, and backed up my photos. The 4 GB flash drive I’d bought for that purpose is now full! Meaning I’ve taken that many photos in just this year! Incredible.
Moweena returned today. I was wondering if she had gone back to her village for good. She could easily do that and I’d never ever know. But after a week of being gone, she came today and cooked and cleaned.
For lunch I visited Jen and Ben. They leave this week, their last in Bangladesh. It’s amazing that within my time here, they came and will leave. They are great friends, and I’ll miss having them here. We’ve had many great times together. Today they had offered to share macaroni and cheese with me. They do a great job cooking up amazing meals. When I got there, Ben was purchasing tickets online, and we discussed the nuances of purchasing online fares. We chatted a lot over cooking and then eating. The afternoon finished with Ben telling me an incredible story. I had mentioned how my friend Peyton had recently climbed El Capitan again at Yosemite (see Saket's posts on it 1 2), so Ben jumped into an epic tale about his climb up El Capitan and how he funded his way there. It took over an hour to tell, but it was the best story I’ve heard in awhile. Knowing Jen has heard it scores of times, I wonder what her version would sound like.
I went to buy fish this afternoon. Stopped by my favorite supermarket and chose a fish from their fish department. They asked if they should cut it up, and I said sure, why not. So I watched him slice it, and another employee held open a bag to put the pieces in. the first employee grabbed this first piece, the fish’s head, and dropped it into the bag. And it went straight through! A hole opened up, or was already there, not sure, but the fish head fell right to the ground. SPLAT, BOUNCE! It was hilarious, I started cracking up, I couldn’t stop. They started laughing too. We all thought it was the funniest thing all day. Glad great moments like this happen.
48th-5th in Dhaka 8/3
Rode three buses today. Had limited time as I couldn’t work into the evening as I was meeting up with my friends at Pizza Hut. Although, I’m starting to get very tired of riding the buses. It is draining, especially these local buses, but I’m trying to get all this data collected before I leave. And I feel I’m having problems breathing these days, maybe it is because of all the fumes I inhale.
For dinner, a bunch of us met at Pizza Hut to celebrate today’s holiday: World Friendship Day. These past few days I’ve signs for dances and celebrations all over town. Places that people like to spend time at were all packed with people hanging out with friends. It was crazy to see the passion with which the holiday is celebrated.
So my friends and I had pizza. We all showed up late as the roads were jammed, maybe in part due to the holiday. We were there for two hours. They brought us the wrong size pizzas, too large. We would have to pay for it, and yet not be able to eat it all. Well we all braved it, and put pizza down our throats like we’d never done before. I felt sick by the end. (pics: Saquib/Ayon/myself at Pizza Hut for World Friendship Day even though I'm the only one looking, Farhan/Nipu laughing at Pizza Hut, Opu appears to have been a victim of someone's cruel "untwist the cap of the pepper just enough so that the next person has it spill out all over their food" trick, Opu/Faisal/myself/Ayon/Nipu posing in front of Pizza Hut after dinner)
It was a nice time with the guys. With all of our schedules, these times are too spaced out.
48th-6th in Dhaka 8/4
I did a morning data collection in Banani, then did two #3 bus routes. They took longer than I thought they would. Jams seem to be bigger these days than ever before. It rained at points today, and it made being on a bus pretty bad, as everyone closes the windows on an already hot bus. When it rained during the morning data collection, I was under a shelter, and everyone came under when it rained, packing it, and making it hard to see the buses going by. I was squished.
I picked up my visa from the Vietnam embassy. The guard said I was a very lucky man to be receiving a second visa. I felt so too. I was actually worried they’d deny me just because it was my second. But now it’s nicely in my passport, and despite the double fee, I’ll be able to go to Vietnam in October.
Also went by the tailor who is making my tuxedo. They had it ready to be tried on, although not close to finished. Just the structure is there so they can see how it looks on me before finishing it up. It was weird to put on pants that didn’t even have a waistband yet, just a cloth strip. And a jacket with pieces of fabric sticking out everywhere. But i really liked it. It fit very well, and the shape was looking sharp. I’ll be excited to see the finished product, and then sport it in the US.
When I came home, there was a gigantic spider in my room. I was not going to bed with it by my bed. I had to kill it, I usually don’t enjoy killing bugs, but it was the biggest spider I’d seen, maybe ever. At least in the presence of my bed. I felt bad.
48th-7th in Dhaka 8/5
Today is 11 months.
I did a data collection at Kalabagan. Towards the end, a young guy came up to me and started talking to me. He asked if I had remembered him, he’s a guy who saw me last week at a nearby bus stop and tried to chat but it was dark out and I was having problems working, so didn’t talk then. Well now, midday, we talked. He was a real neat guy doing a lot of work in media in Bangladesh, but still a college student (in his third university, having a bit of grade issues.) I ended spending the afternoon with him. We walked back to his university, hung out where the students grab snacks, and chatted. One of his friends came by, a guy who’s from Kathmandu, so we were able to chat about my recent trip there, plus his thoughts on his country’s future now that it’s a democracy. It was a great afternoon. We headed over to Goethhe Institute, also known as the German Cultural Center, where they like to hang out. I’d heard the name before, but never had been. Well its being renovated right now, so none of the food items were available, which are supposed to be amazing. I stayed a bit before going to do another data collection.
After the data collection I met up with my friend Toma at a café nearby to the data collection. We chilled there for awhile, had dinner, then chilled at Dhanmondi Lake for awhile. I was exhausted from the day though, and was real glad to be home when I finally got there.