Sunday, April 30, 2006

Fantasy Kingdom

Yesterday I accompanied 80 of the kids to Dhaka’s biggest theme park. Once a year they go on an excursion and I was lucky enough to witness their joy! I wasn’t feeling so sporty from an open bar night at the aussie club the night before (nothing like a good sing along when Brett Lee pulls out his guitar). Spinning around on the pirate ship or spider wasn’t on my top 10 list of things to do feeling the way I did. But the kids were so excited and I just couldn’t let them down!

The female staff members decided I needed some grooming and applied lippy, put flowers in my hair, gave me a new pair of earrings and applied a bindi.

At the park one boy was dancing and smiling as he watched his friends whiz around on the spider ride. They were all so happy and excited. The boys couldn’t stop holding my hand, picking flowers and playing with my hair (according to the boys I have dandruff and there is a special shampoo I can use to get rid of it).

As I didn’t feel up to riding in the morning, I gave my coupons to the kids to use. At the end of the day when I was feeling better the boys were a bit concerned that I didn’t ride the rollercoaster and managed to find a spare ticket and threw me on it (literally).

On our way home our bus brokedown and all 80 of us had to cram on one bus. Bengalis don’t like silence and so we had singing and poetry reading on the megaphone.

I farewelled one of the boys I had spent most of the day with (he's on the dinosaur above) who was always by my side holding my hand, with a big hug. Then everyone ran up for a hug too. Now they all keep asking me if they can come to Australia. These kids are stealing my heart!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Shovo Novo Boshur! Happy New Year!
Last Friday it was Bangladesh New Year. Tradition sees females d
ress up in white and red sharis and head to Ramna Park (similar to that of Centenial Park). We thought we would escape the crowds and everyday attention by heading to Dhaka Uni. We were expecting music and entertainment, but if there was any entertainment it was us! When we wanted to paint our face like the locals, crowds formed around us. When we wanted to check out the local hippie chanting, people stopped to stare not at him but at us looking at him. We even had some admirers follow us which included a young man with a flute- a pity he was so out of tune!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Drop In Centre Visit

I visited two of the drop in centers last week. It was an amazing experience. On the way there two extreme events happened as they always do here in Bangladesh. I saw a truck hit a rickshaw (bike) and an elephant crossing the road.

When I reached the centre the boys were numerous. They were laughing hysterically at a Mr Bean DVD. There were so many children and they looked so very young. Two boys sang for me and it was the most beautiful song! I visited the girls drop-in centres too that day. I took some of my flatmates there on the weekend and the girls were very shy at first but when all the men and boys left the centre they came alive and loved the attention they were receiving from us. They were showing us how to wear our ornas (scarfs) etc. The kids were so happy to see us and so eager for us to return that they followed us out the door and onto the street.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Top guy Adam Gilchrist!

My new mate Ricky Ponting!

Curry, Cricket and Cha!
Before coming to Bangladesh I knew I would be up for the 3 c's: Curry, Cricket and Cha (tea). Little did I know before arriving that I would be socialising with our Aussie cricket team. Luckily my newtown flattie, Craig, took me on an excursion to see my first live match back in February. Australia vs Sri Lanka. The game worked out to be great prep for our cricket function last night and a great conversation starter: "I haven't seen many live games but the one I did see you lost against Sri Lanka". The Aussie team is currently in Bangladesh. Our mate Doug, the High Commissioner here, invited us to a little do with the Aussie and Bangladesh cricket teams. Warney was on the phone (seriously!), but we did get a chance to meet the others. My favourite (and also the most popular player at the office) was Gilchrist. He was your all round genuine Mr nice guy. Three of us ended up drinking red wine back at the hotel with one of the team members. The red wine was bought on their recent South African tour. Definetely a night not to forget!!!

Friday, April 07, 2006

To squat or not to squat?
That is the question. According to squatplatform.com squatting is much healthier than sitting. For a western woman what is scarey about squatting is not the squat but the absence of flushing, toilet paper and the high possibility of peeing on ones pants or in Bangladesh your Kameez. So I had been avoiding the squat toilet for my first few two weeks. However when I started work this week there was only one female toilet: a squatter. On my first day I tried not to drink too much at work, but yesterday on day two I finally used it without peeing on my pants and I even used water instead of paper and now I have no fear of the squatting toilet!!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It's a small world after all!
I thought it was a small world when I bumped into an old uni friend crossing the street in London in 1999. I thought it was even smaller when an old work colleague walked into my youth hostel in Rome in 2000. But that has nothing on my next story, after all London is a big place with lots of Aussies and the Roman hostel was the first listed in the lonely planet.

On my first day in Dhaka we had a briefing at the Aussie club. I met a Dane and when I told him I worked in Esbjerg while living in Denmark I find out that he not only was born in this Danish town but we were at the same party at my workplace way back in the year 2000. What a very small world indeed!!!