bonnieylau

every city has a unique rhythm and beat.

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

These past couple of days have been amazing. I realized about a week and a half ago that I wasn’t taking full advantage of my time here to get to know the locals and do what the bangladeshi’s do. So, I made some changes in my daily routine. 

1) I began to eat dal (By the way, thick dal, like with minimal water is actually quite amazing. chick peas are a great source of protein and the flavouring adds a new life to whatever it is you are having, be it naan or rice) 

2) I only eat with my hands now and I realize that there is actually something quite natural about being able to touch your food– not play with it by any means. 

With these two changes, and my constant urge to learn Bangla, I began to really love the people and city here. The more i could communicate with them, the happier I was. So what have i done? 

Well, for one, I went down the market below the CARE office — which is the wholesale market of the city and it is might i say, crazy (the only word that comes to mind to describe the market is jungle) and I went up to a man, sitting on the floor, completely bangla, and conversed with him as I wanted to purchase some fruit from him. The fact that he understood me, and didn’t charge me a “foreign premium” for the fruit, made me feel so welcome. Just a little gesture like that, made me feel like, I wasn’t an outcast, that I had a place here 🙂 And i must say, i was so afraid to go out on my own before. I mean, it was actually a frightful experience for me, not that I was scared for my safety or anything like that, but because, to go out to a place, that was 1) extremely busy and crazy 2) there are people everywhere 3) did i mention like crazy, like local market busy — and to converse in a language that you barely understand with someone who has been speaking the language their entire life, and buy fruit from him, it was just a bit difficult for me to muster the courage to do. However, now, i’m certainly a pro with conversing with the locals! 

Speaking of conversing with locals, I love talking to them and learning new words. Most of them have broken english (again depending on who you talk to) so it’s such a great learning experience for me to meet new locals and learn new words. It’s actually an amusing experience because when they first see me, they speak to me in english, of course, expecting an english response in return. But instead, i surpise them by saying either “lakh ben ah”–which means no needs– or “kemon asho”–which means how are you—. And almost always, they either start to chuckle, are thoroughly amused by me, or look at me in awe. I must say, I get a joy in awe-ing them and seeing them surprised because for me, somehow that little expression on their faces , or that chuckle, shows that I’ve somehwat broken down a barrier of communication and that i have a genuine interest in their country and culture. actually a funny experience happened today lol. We were in bango bazaar– and for those of you who dont’ know, almost all the clothing in Canada– including h&m, gap, zara, garage and etc– the clothing is made here. so guess what???.. you betcha 1$can to 70taka exchange rate( or big mac index) i did……. I went shopping!!!  So Afzal and I, at first, were a bit lost, and so we kept walking by this one vendor over and over again. After conversing with him a couple of times, leaving, then passing by him again… Well, let me describe the situation. I had my face turned away from him, and was looking at some jeans. All of a sudden, i heard someone saying “hey, HEY MISS”. and i turned around and saw the same vendor I had passed by many times before. Then he pointed at his mobile phone, then me, and asked, “you have number miss”… and that was when I pointed at Afzal and said “I dont’ have a mobile number. Ask my boyfriend” LOL. So yes, that was the first time I have ever gotten picked up by a Bengali guy. 

At a Moghul's Palace.

Yesterday, Afzal and I, along with his friends–also from Canada– Connor and Melinda, with Murtaza explored Old Dhaka. We went to a Moghul’s palace and a museum, and it was all fun and games lol. Connor had quite the female following, as he even got stopped on the street by some Bengali girls (maybe my age) and got told that “my goodness, you are so handsome, i am so grateful to have met you. add me on facebook”. This, was by far, the highlight of the day. And also, well the rickshaw traffic jam that we encountered. 

Wow, that was quite the long post, and I know I didn’t get a chance to include everything. However, I must go and finish preparing for a presentation tomorrow as well as finishing up the business plan. Plus, I have less than a day in this city and country, so I’m going to go make the best of it. every city has a unique rhythm and beat, and eventho i dont’ think i will ever get into the groove of dhaka and Bangladesh, I have such an appreciation for it. 🙂 

-Bonbon

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  1. An amazing experience…the more I read about your adventures, the more tempted I get to explore this opportunity

  2. This post made me happy. I watch this show called Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He’s a top chef in New York and he goes to all these places Vietnam, Peru, India, Pakistan, Saudi, Thailand, Iceland, Paris.. and he tries everything from the top to the bottom. So in Paris, he’ll stay in a room occupied by Oscar Wilde and then he’ll eat street food. This is what this post reminded me off. I hate when people “go on holiday” and sit in their hotel room and go to all the tourist sites listed in the Lonely Planet. You only get to know a country when you are at the very base level and it makes me terribly happy that you have tried your very best to do this. And hats off to you Bonnie, because it is not a difficult task having lived in North America all your life! I go back to India every year but I still act like a brat and complain when I have to walk on the streets. I think this is amazing and must have been an amazing experience for you. I’m so glad I know someone that did this!

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