Dhaka Travel Blog› entry 14 of 32 › view all entries
January 13th, 2008 – by: nicoleah
Ok, finally able to write again. When I arrived in Dhaka I breezed through customs and came outside into chaos. Thankfully, Sanjida was there with a very big sign with my name. She grabbed my hand and whisked me through the chaotic crowd to a minitaxi and we were quickly whizzing through the busy traffic of Dhaka. I have never seen traffic like this in my life. As usual, traffic signs and lights appear non-existent and everyone drive full-speed. I don't think the people of Dhaka have figured out what a brake or turn signal is yet, but they are very familiar with the gas pedal and horn. The worst part is the pollution, I was already having a bit of a cough in Nepal but it is now a bad respiratory infection.
After driving across town for nearly an hour, we arrived at Sanjida's where I was instantly introduced to nearly every aunt, uncle, and cousin, most of whom live in the same building. I was treated to a true Bengali feast with beef, chicken, salad, rice, and a specially made coke and sprite tail by her friendly cousin. It was her aunt's anniversary so I understand she had made the food for her well-wishers. At this point, I sadly learned that the family was in mourning after Sanjida's father's sudden following a stroke on December 20th. The family all sat around and watched while I tried to eat unsuccesfully Bengali style (with my hands) and then asked me all about myself.
I was then taken to her uncle's apartment to meet her grandmother and more cousins. At this point, Legi and his driver arrived. Sanjida had arranged for me to stay with him during my time in Dhaka I think maybe because she believed I'd feel more comfortable there. I somehow fitted my bag into his Toyota Corolla and drove an hour to his place near the embassies. Legi is a fashion designer working with clothing that eventually makes its way to Target, Walmart, Macy's, and JCPenney's. (So if you ever wondered where those pants you are wearing came from, it's here). He's clearly very well off and has a nice apartment with a live-in maid and live-in driver. So once I arrived, he had me give my clothes to the maid to be cleaned and offered me more food which I had to refuse because I was completely stuffed over at Sanjida's. If anything, the entire time in Bangladesh I almost felt sick from eating too much. Seconds were always heaped onto my plate which already had large portions and it was often difficult for me to eat at all since the last meal/tea had occurred so recently. Thankfully, all the food was delicious!
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