06 August 2011

Dhaka, Bangladesh...part deux

There is no tourism in Bangladesh. Matt cracked up when we saw an ad at the airport from the Bangladesh Tourism Department...it read "Come to Bangladesh before the tourists do!"...like thats gonna happen anytime soon!

Doing anything in Dhaka is...punishing. Once outside of the orphanage, we were immediately immersed in heat, noise, filth and chaos. All as oppressive as you can imagine. 100 degree heat, 16 million people, a city with little infrastructure...and as much chaos as you can pack in. Hold on, its a wild ride.

Just walking to the store, I took the picture below.

We saw entire families breaking bricks for a living. Smashing big bricks into little bricks, little bricks into pieces of bricks, and pieces of bricks into brick sand. Kids are put to work as soon as they can walk. We saw a 4 year old smashing bricks with a homemade tomahawk...no joke. The more kids you have, the more people you have to break bricks.

Its a sobering sight.

Next up? Hundreds of people waiting in line to get a cup of rice from a government truck. Same truck, same place, every day....wait in line....in the heat.

Luckily, it wasn't all gloom and doom. The locals were so very friendly and the kids were positively giddy when Matt and I played cricket in the street with them.

Another highlight was the food. Anyone who knows me knows that spicy food makes me sweat like a hooker in church...but when its 105 degrees out....who cares!

Does that food look spicy? You're damn right it does...and it was! Good Christmas they like their food spicy....its no joke....and delicious.

Most meals consisted of the same items. Bread...Yellow mushy stuff...Rice...Brown mushy stuff, and unidentifiable meats in spicy sauces. One sauce I believe came from Satan's underpants....in fact, thats what I would order...since they don't speak English and would bring the same stuff anyway.

"Some Yellow and/or Brown Mushy stuff, some Bread and some Rat meat bathed in Satan's underpants sauce please...thanks"

Its really unbelievable not only the amount of activities we squeezed into 5 days, but also the variety. Besides hanging out with Bangladeshi gangsters and playing bumper cars with motorcycle rickshaws, we also went to a soccer game in the big stadium...oh and crashed a wedding.

Thats right, we crashed a wedding....in Bangladesh....a Muslim wedding. Who has big giant b**ls? We do, thats who!

 Matts buddy Marshall has a sister who was going to a wedding, so because Marshall is 19 and doesnt know any better, he decided we should just show up. We were a bit fuzzy on the details until we got there and realized "hold on....we weren't actually invited (like Marshall said)...wait a second, why is everyone staring at us?"

Matt and Elodie....wedding crashers
Well at least it was a small wedding...of 600 people!

It gets better.

The waiters had no idea what to make of us...especially when we told them Elodie is a vegetarian. They were completely stunned and confused. So much so, that they just hovered around her and every 30 seconds or so, scooped more vegetables on her plate.

I took this picture right after I signaled to the waiter that I thought she needed some more veggies.

Bon Appetit! Her face says "STOP TELLING HIM TO GIVE  ME MORE VEGGIES!" or actually it probably says something like that in French....because she is from France.

It was an amazing trip. One I certainly wouldn't have made unless Matt (above) was in Bangladesh. Kudos to his adventurous spirit....Bangladesh...crazy!

I also cant say enough nice things about Elodie and the orphanage we stayed at. If you are looking for a worthy cause to donate to, look no further. They are making a REAL difference in the lives of many street children in Dhaka. You can click on the link below for information about their charity.


Stay tuned for our next stop...Singapore!


GodsdoG said...

I feel sad that you could only experience the sad part of the culture. To some its a chaos living among so much noise, however, if you see those very people at work, you would be amazed how well they apply physics without even much knowledge on books.

may be you could successfully fool the waiter due to his low knowledge on english but look at the other side, they must have been laughing at you people for too much veg and saying something in bangla (INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY stands on this language) that you couldn't even understand. let's look at the positive side of it, we are full of hospitality. we try to make them feel comfortable and treat them as much as cordial we can be.

have you been to Shakharibazar? it's busy and it's full of colors and energy unlike those who think life is better inside air-conditioned rooms.

well, i love my country. please try not to be pessimistic while reviewing a culture.

just to add a note, you just won a free couch! next time when you visit dhaka, i can volunteer a few hours and a room at my place.

Chris said...

We had an amazing time and were very impressed by Bangla hospitality. My writing style (sarcasm and humor) doesn't always translate well. I am sorry if I offended you.

Next time I am in Bangladesh, we can discuss over lunch. :)

Matt said...

Hey 'doG, just to reiterate, I think Chris's writing style can sometimes not translate so well.

In living in Bangladesh for three months, I was continually amazed, every day, by the warmth, kindness and ingenuity shown by the Bangladeshi people. While materially poor compared to the west, its cultural wealth is phenomenal, and very refreshing to observe and immerse oneself in.

While my time in Bangladesh is also now over, I'll be back soon, and I'd be glad to have a chat once I return, inshallah.