Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fulbright Blog
Date: November 29, 2006
Place: Dhaka

The weather here is lovely now. It is in the mid to upper 70s. The Bangladeshis, however, think this is terribly cold and many of them are wearing shawls and sweaters. I find it very humorous!

I finally have a new Bangla teacher. She comes to my office for an hour (traffic permitting!) every day. She is very nice and helped write the textbook that HEED Language Center uses (though she is no longer affiliated with the institute.) I can’t remember if I had blogged about my language class debacle earlier or not. In case not, the short version of the story is: I initially went up to the HEED Language Center in Banani every morning for class. Class started at 8am, however, which meant that I had to get up at 6am to leave by 7am. Since I am not a morning person, that was not a very attractive arrangement. Especially considering that with traffic it took me an hour to get there and an hour to get back. Consequently, I decided to hire a HEED tutor to come to my office. Figuring in transportation costs, it was actually less expensive! Unfortunately, my tutor did not really like the transportation arrangement either, so he quit.

So after two weeks of Bangla lessons, I was without a teacher. I wanted to find someone else who knew the HEED methodology, because I did not want to learn yet another English syntax for Bangla pronunciation (I had already learned two others in New York…) Thankfully, after a few weeks of searching, my roommate, Hanako, came through! Her Bangla teacher knew my new Bangla teacher. The price is quite a bit more, but still reasonable and I don’t have to travel, so I now have a new instructor!

Today’s Observations About Bangladesh:
  1. Horns are an essential component to driving. None of the rickshaws or CNGs have rearview mirrors, so everyone honks to make their position known.
  2. Massages are illegal here. Yes! That's right! Isn't it crazy?! Apparently in Islam, massage is a form of prostitution, even if it is a same-sex massage. Foot massages and facials are allowed though... Shefali told me that a few salons in Dhaka that gave massages were shut down. That might explain the really bizarre curry massage I got on my birthday...
  3. Muslim women generally do not wear nailpolish. This is because before Muslims pray they have to wash so there is nothing between their bodies and God. Since nailpolish does not wash off, it is therefore not allowed. Thankfully, some less religious women do wear it, so I was able to pick up a lovely shade of pink at the market the other day...

On a separate note, as the Awami League and the Bangladesh National Party wage war in the street, I am waging a war at home against the mosquitoes. Sadly, I am losing. I have so many bites now that I look (and feel!) like I have chicken pox. I have run out of DEET and I can not find any analgesic balm in the pharmacies. I read an article the other day that baking soda relieves bite itch, so I bought some last night, but sadly it doesn't work very well and I leave a trail of white powder wherever I go. They only seem to go after me too! My roommate is bite-free! She does have mosquito coils (that she brought from Japan) though. I think I am going to make it my goal to find mosquito coils this weekend as I seem to put off a scent that Dhaka mosquitoes find irresistable!! I can not continue this itchy existence!

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