“Hey you, that should have cost 10 taka, give them the rest of their change.”

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Today has been my favourite day thus far in Bangladesh. It really introduced me to the beauty of Dhaka, and how despite the pollution and the people, and all the constant honking, the city has a unique charm and life to it.

The day started off with breakfast followed by Afzal and mine’s first ride in a CNG !

at the back of the CNG

 It was quite an eventful experience, and although it looks very tiny on the outside, it is actually quite spacious and roomy. We took the CNG for about half an hour and ended up in Newmarket, which is in Central Dhaka: a bazaar that sells western clothing and essentially everything and anything you can think of!

Here is what I bought: A backpack, and a scarf!

the backpack!

the scarf! yes, 1.50$ canadian!

The scarf is beautiful isn’t it? And it cost me, wait for it, a total of 1.50$ Canadian! BOO YAA!! I must say, thank you afzal for helping me bargain. His hindi is actually really useful thus far, and has helped a lot, especially when purchasing items, since everyone raises the prices like 93420934 times because we’re foreigners!

Then, we decided to walk around, and we walked over a bridge and ended up with this view of the city. Crazy isn’t it? A mess isn’t it? But if you took the time to explore , you’d figure out that there is a method to the madness.

View of Central Dhaka

 There are just so many rickshaws, and CNGS! We ended up walking some more, and thanks to lonely planet, we ended up in this restaurant called Malancha Restaurant, which is where many of the university students go to eat and what not. We sat down to eat, and met some uni students! It was really cool to meet the locals and people our age, and people that could speak English!!!

After lunch, Afzal and I decided to, well, go to the National Stadium. For those of you who don’t know this, Afzal’s grandfather used to own a store at the national stadium in Dhaka, and so, we wanted to go see if it was still there! Now, the part of this trip that really made an impression of me, was that the locals could see how Afzal and I were struggling to find our way there , and they could see that we didn’t really know where to go, and what method of transportation to get there. 2-3 men actually stopped, and told us where to go, and even waited for a bus to come, made sure we were on the bus, and made sure the bus driver and the guy who calls the stops (over here, if you want to get off, you have to tell a guy, who then hits the side of the car, which is a signal to the bus driver), that he should let us (afzal and i) know when we get to the national stadium. The bus ride was quite an experience. Although the entire bus was star-ing at me, i must say, I am starting to get accustomed to it. They’re just curious! So the bus ride was really fun and we really explored and go to see Central Dhaka. A really heart warming incident: As afzal and i were getting off the bus, we paid (this is how it’s done here). And we gave the guy 50 tk, and he gave us back 35 tk. All of a sudden, a stranger on the bus—a local—  said to the money collector… “hey, that should have cost 10 taka. Give them the rest of their change”. Although the difference was 5 tk, it was just really nice of the guy to go out of his way to ensure we (afzal and I) weren’t ripped off.

So we finally arrive at the stadium, and boy, it was beautiful. We got some pictures, but they’re currently renovating, so it’s not perfect (the stadium), but it’s surely big and beautiful! They play a lot of the cricket matches here, so that’s super cool!

After we saw the stadium, it was around 4:00 and so we decided to try to catch a CNG to go home. However, we walked and walked and walked, and soon, I think we walked near Old Dhaka. It was just so cool, seeing the locals do their thing. We even walked by a band of boys, who were playing this game, sort of a mix between pool and checkers— you use your chips and you hit the other persons chips into their holes: the game is played on a board! And they saw that we were watching, and even invited us to play!!! I think it’s called Karem, that’s what affy said. Although afzal and i both didn’t play, we made a promise to ourselves that we would next time!

At night, we decided to hit up a fancy shmancy restaurant! Lol, it’s called spaghetti jazz, and we had pizza! yay! The best experience tho, of the night, was going into the markets, and seeing all the fruits and meeting the locals.

The fruit market!

 BUT THE ULTIMATE BEST PART, was watching the argentina vs germany match, with hundreds and hundreds of people, on the streets. At first, it was in the nearby fruit market, people, all from the shops and nearby, just gathered, in front of one large tv projector. Sitting on the pavement, all together… just watching. It was amazing. Then, in the middle of the “times square” of Dhaka, on the giant bigscreen, the game was playing, and Afzal and I, decided to join in on the festivaties. The crowds roaring, and full of emotion; especially since most Bengali are Argentina and or Brazil fans! Despite Argentina’s loss, I will say, this was an amazing experience, being out with the locals! I hope to do the same in Chittagong, and in Cox Bazar!

Anyhow, i’m going to bed now, because i have an early 6am morning tmrw! Ciao for now! Ps richard todd, i tried some more indian / bengali food today lol. Thought you’d be proud. And sylvia, i bought you a keychain!

  1. Bonnie I’m so happy you’re havign such a great time!!!!

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