Map of Bangladesh

Map of Bangladesh
for more detailed map, scroll to bottom of page

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hello Bangladesh

We arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh  (the capital) at 9:20 a.m. this morning.  Well, almost all of us arrived in Dhaka. Leo's bags are somewhere in Dubai still but they should be getting here soon.  The last half hour of our flight was amazing.  I got to look down on desert, water, trees, grass, and cricket fields.  Oddly, as I was looking out my window, the Bengali guy next to me decided his seat was a window seat too; with his body stretched across mine, his nose was right up against the glass.  Initially hesitant to address him, I soon started a coarse, casual discourse.  From the little I could understand of his English, I learned that he was studying somewhere outside of Bangladesh (maybe England) and was flying home for the summer.  Since I couldn't make out most of his English, this became my first encounter that teeter-tottered between Bangla (or Bengali- they are interchangeable) and English.  The most valuable part of our conversation was a word he taught me in Bangla- "shundur." I'll come back to this.

Leo, Kevin, Andrew and I get to spend the weekend at the Holy Cross seminary here in Dhaka, enjoying leisure, good food, two or three rooms with air conditioning (not our bedrooms), and wonderfully friendly priests, brothers, and seminarians, including the world's leading expert on Nematodes, a bishop, and my friend's uncle, each of whom are Holy Cross missionary priests.

So far, we have informed our parents of our arrival, found a fairly large bug in our sink, played harmonica and basketball, succeeded in getting a soccer ball into a basketball hoop multiple times, using only soccer body parts, and perspired profusely.  For anyone desiring a better picture (or whiff) of the situation, I have not showered in somewhere near 48 hours.  Hopefully I'll have time to tonight before passing out in a real bed (I've slept almost as little as I've showered these past couple days, even though I usually sleep well on planes, trains, and automobiles).

Today was Friday. Fridays in Bangladesh are fairly quiet days of prayer for Muslims.  We were told that the roads are relatively empty and the air fairly peaceful.  Most days in the capital city are full of bustle and noise.  People are the main labor force, as opposed to the machines back home, and the streets are simply packed with them, biking, riding, walking, and running around like fifteen million ants in a hive called Dhaka.  Driving is dangerous here.  Even today I felt slightly uncomfortable on the road as a result of, in my opinion, many nearly avoided accidents.  Tomorrow we'll go out and explore the city some. I'm excited. Bangladesh kub shundur desh ("Bangladesh is a beautiful country").

A Bug in the Sink

P.S. I can now count to ten in Bangla and I'm improving a few other conversational phrases.  Also, unexpectedly I've been able to blog a lot here early on, but that will probably decrease soon.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Jeff and Companions,

    We placed your names in our mass book of intentions today at Our Lady of Lourdes!

    God Bless You and Protect You!

    Love and Prayers, The Goyers