Cha, cha, cha

Dhaka Travel Blog

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Getting my package ready to mail
 In the morning, the maid made me breakfast and I watched CSI on TV.   Around 10:30 am, Legi's driver picked me up to drive me to Sanjida's.  We then drove to the immigration and passport office where I spent many hours of my life I would have preferred to spend elsewhere.  It's a very dingy office where people tell you one thing now and another thing the next minute and everyone seems angry and confused.  Thankfully Sanjida yelled at the right people and shoved me in the right lines so that I got a paper saying I'd have my change of route permit the next day at 2pm.  (I needed this to cross the border by land, since I flew into Bangladesh). 

We then were off to the National Museum which houses everything from plants to statues to famous paintings to thrones.
Outside the post office
  I woefully know very little about Bangladesh, but learned quite a bit more during my time there.  Sanjida introduced me to the museum curator who visited with me a bit before returning to work.  (By the way, Sanjida seems to know everyone in Dhaka.  I had arranged beforehand to have a guy in Dhaka purchase a train ticket for me.  When I showed her his phone number she told me that she knew him and we were actually supposed to have gone to a party at his house the night before.)  We also had lunch at the crowded library cafe next door where an international film festival was going on.

We took the car to Sanjida's and then a rickwshaw to the post office.
Sanjida buying us fresh coconut milk. (I like how her dupatta matches the coconut)
  We went outside and a man sitting on the ground took my things and placed recycled cardboard pieces around them.  Then he tied it tight with string, followed by sewing cloth over the entire package.  After that he sealed it with wax.  I then addressed it and walked it into the dingy post office where a man lazily smoked a cigarette as he stared at the words USA for a very long time.  Eventually it was sent off and I was told it should only take two weeks, though I will certainly be impressed if it arrives in the next decade!  It pretty much holds all the gifts for everyone, so if it never arrives, I'm sorry!

After this, we went back to Sanjida's where I took a nap.  When I awoke, her mother had made a meal for me but sadly I was not hungry and could barely eat anything, which I think is considered an insult (though definitely unintended).
The family on the train
  Legi then arrived with his driver and I was whisked back to his place.

The next morning the driver arrived at 9:30 while I was still finishing my breakfast.  So I hopped in the car and tried to ignore the constant flow of people banging on my window begging for money or trying to sell me everything from cookies to wall-size maps. 

At Sanjida's we put my bags in her spare room before taking off looking for her bank.  I gave her some wild rice from Minnesota and tried to explain why it was black to them.  Her mother began crying and Sanjida told me her mother was saying that her father would have loved me and to try the rice.  On the way to the bank, we stopped at her aunt's for more cha (tea) and plenty of food.  My cough was very bad at this point and her aunt gave me some Nyquil and Dayquil she had gotten from her son who lives in Texas now.  After this we walked to the LIberation War Museum where one of Sanjida's friends gave me a tour.  In Bangladesh's war for independence from Pakistan countless atrocities were committed and people were slaughtered in the millions.  I knew nothing of this, but it was very sad and the photos remind me of those from the Holocaust. 

Next we went back to my favorite immigration and passport office where we were told I could not get my permit until 5pm.  Amazingly, some yelling and insults from Sanjida promptly produced the permit and we were able to leave that awful place never to return.  Sanjida then took me to a clothing technology fair for an hour or so where we had cha with one of the presenters who knew Sanjida's father.  Finally we stopped by a department store to use her sister's discount to purchase a salwar kameez for me to wear in rural Bangladesh and India.  Sanjida also bought some farewell gifts for me, despite paying for basically everything during my entire stay in Dhaka.

I then took my last ride through the polluted traffic of Bangladesh to the train station where Sanjida helped find my train.  I luckily was sharing my cabin with a family who owned a hotel in Dinajpur, my next destination.  They helped me get situated and I slept surprisingly well (the Nyquil may have helped) during the overnight train ride until he woke me at 4:30am at our destination.




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Getting my package ready to mail
Getting my package ready to mail
Outside the post office
Outside the post office
Sanjida buying us fresh coconut mi…
Sanjida buying us fresh coconut m…
The family on the train
The family on the train
Dhaka
photo by: cimtech