Wednesday, August 26, 2009
moving right along
Sometimes. I think traffic is a major preoccupation in Dhaka, not just my own personal challenge. The paper covers it daily, including pictures of a police officer trying to bring in a tow truck to tow illegally parked cars and meeting a human wall resisting. Or articles about enforcing the laws about streets with no rickshaws. I am seeing that more on the street lately. Usually the rickshaw driver just begs to be allowed to cross a little bit on the big road to get to the next side street, meanwhile contributing to the constant gridlock.
Yesterday I took a motorized rickshaw (CNG) (picture from a different blog) to class and it took less than 10 minutes to get there. Same driver came looking for me this morning, but I'd gotten on the rickshaw, so I stayed with him. Takes 20-30 minutes by rickshaw. The CNGs run on compressed natural gas and they've apparently reduced air pollution here considerably. They also, I swear, can drive not only forward and back, but left to right, when needed. Unfortunately, with the limitations on rickshaws being enforced more stringently, the demand for CNGs is up and they are getting hard to find available. We'll need one for the airport tomorrow since that's another road that rickshaws aren't allowed on.
After class I went to the American center and picked up 3 boxes of books that I'd sent less than 3 weeks ago. Yea! I also found a CNG right away and was home really quickly.
After Matan finished school, I met him there and we went to see what's at the commissary. This is a store with products from the US which we have access to because of my work. Of course, we had our usual limit of only buying as much as we could carry! We did get some fun food like cheddar and swiss cheese and turkey slices, pasta, sandwich bags (mostly for ice packs) and ice cream. The trip home by rickshaw was nearly an hour (on an empty road could have been done in 15-20 minutes), so the ice cream was a little soupy.
A day full of accomplishments overall.
One note that left me pondering, though. In Bangla class, on our second day of class, our teacher, Sultana, asked what we liked about Bangladesh. Four adults sat very quietly until one said "the people." I had literally gone over different things in my mind and couldn't come up with something. Over the course of the day, I came back to the question. I think I like the challenges of finding how things are done (so why am I so cranky about the process, sometimes?). As Matan said, it feels very real here. We feel the rain more if we have to get somewhere (bring that umbrella home, Matan), and recognize that carrying the water we drink is an effort (one that we are nonetheless glad that we can afford to buy and are able to carry). Later in the day, I also remembered that I'm glad to be able to study and teach in a new environment. I also really like the community in Matan's school.
I was definitely taken aback, though, that I couldn't come up with something off the top of my head.