Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Last Post

At Dhaka airport, waiting to board.

My colleagues had a dinner party for me last night. Happily, I evaded all attempts at having me make a speech. (Whenever someone nodded to me and said, "Speech?", I replied, "Yes, please do.")

Before dinner, T, my closest Bengali co-worker, gave me something in a plastic bag. I pretended to pass the bag around to ask for more gifts from everyone, and to my delight, most people did add something. Hurray! Today, my workmates at the office were also very kind and gave me presents. For some reason, every piece of clothing or accessory I received was purple.

I was told I had gotten thinner after my trip to Manila, and they were speculating that it was because the food in Bangladesh was too oily. Funnily, one of my friends from back home, at the first sight of me, stared at my chest and said, "Nagpabawas ka?" I swear, you put on a sports bra and suddenly you're skinnier...

Alas, I forgot to get henna (mehendi) on my hands before I left, which would have been truly South Asian. I did, however, manage to squeeze in one last threading session. Also, T taught me how to do my own threading, using a spool of rope that we use to tie boxes at the office. The lesson began with this conversation:

T: I do my own threading.
Me: Really?
T: Yes, except my eyebrows.
Me: Why not?
T: Why? Is there something wrong with them?
Me: There should be two.

Anyway, I can't wait to do my own threading!!!

As a final note: on the ride back home last night, I was asked a cheesy question: "What was the most important thing you learned during your stay in Chittagong?" to which I replied: "The same thing I knew all along, but reinforced: you have to have a sense of humor." Because otherwise, you'd go psycho. It's also easier to be generous and forgiving when you're laughing. Plus, I'm sure laughing is slimming and ab-forming.

Thank you for reading "Amar Bangla Na," my blog about my Bangladesh experience.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Breakfast, lunch, & dinner

With my trusty iPhone, I have taken photos of these foodies so you may also imagine that you are eating them:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Travel: Unexpected Delights

After a delicious lunch at Max's (pictured: Platter Meal, with spring chicken, pancit, plain rice, and caramel bar), I bought some last-minute stuff, and then we were off to the airport, where unexpected delights awaited.

Delight # 1: WiFi at NAIA. See previous post.

Delight #2: I got upgraded to Business Class! Although your immediate instinct is to suspect me of flashing cleavage, no no, it was, in fact, my giant work laptop that attracted the stewardess and made her think I was a VIP. Which, in fact, I am. Very Impatient Person. Ask anyone.

The Business Class seats were like having your own private space capsule, plus you can stretch out your chair like a bed! Thanks to the free champagne, I only found this out thirty minutes before landing.

We were 2 hours behind schedule because of plane problems. I missed my connecting flight to Dhaka, but was presented with Delight # 3: a voucher for the airport hotel, plus free breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Eeeeee!!! Thus, unlike my fellow passengers, I did not launch into a screaming fit and demand to see a manager. I waited patiently (gasp) and politely asked to have my little maleta found so I could recharge my various electronics, and also get a change of clothes. (Although, actually, my suitcase has more pasalubong than clothes. Oh well.) Then I wandered over to the Regal Airport Hotel.

Delight # 4: Just look at my hotel room! On a "duh" note, I asked for a converter for US plugs, and it didn't seem to work, so an engineer (electrician) had to come in... and gently nudge the converter. That's all it took. Then I plugged in my monstrous laptop and discovered that the interwebz is not free here! So I ran downstairs and encountered a MASSIVE line of people, mostly flight crew from one of the stranded flights, who were trying to check themselves and the passengers in. We're talking at least 30 people. So I waited for about 15 minutes, and moved on to...

Delight # 5: The discovery that if you pop your head into the "Staff Only" room and are maniacally cheerful when asking for service, you will get what you want. I got the internet day pass in 2 minutes flat. And look, it works!

It's 3 am now. I guess I should hit the sack before getting up for the breakfast buffet. Life is good.

Sentro sa Serendra

For my farewell dinner in Manila, my buddies took me to Sentro, a restaurant in Serendra, an area of fancy restaurants. They had been raving about the Sinigang Corned Beef, which we dutifully ordered, along with salmon spring rolls, kare-kare, binagoong rice, and even some galunggong. We also had bottomless sago't gulaman, which turned out to be literally bottomless, as in they kept refilling our glasses so we never got to see the bottom. By the end of the meal, I felt like sago and gulaman were pouring out of my nose.

We went to nearby Magnet Cafe for drinks, incidentally passing by a "pH Balance" (=fachina) event, hosted by an old high school classmate. Since the event was open to all, we lurked nearby and got within shouting distance of said classmate, who was chatting it up with some couple, but just as we were about to shriek her name like fangirls, she turned away and went back onstage. So sad.

We trooped on to the Cafe, with a P150 "gate fee" ("Nasan yung gate?" I asked, and they gestured at the little table they'd set up in front of the door) and a voucher for Jim Beam. Ugh, I hate whiskey. Magnet Cafe boasts live bands and "always subzero" beer, which was quite true: JM's second Cerveza Negra was frozen, and the waiter had to shake the icy beer chunks into a tall glass. The same thing happened to T's San Mig Light. We had to leave, though, when the second band came on, as the longhaired, emo lead singer, who actually had a pleasant singing voice, spent way too much time shriekeing into the microphone, and doing his best Steve Tyler-high-out-of-his-mind impression while crooning the song lyrics, which none of us understood anyway.

We spent the rest of the night outside a donut shop, eyeing the various ladies (?) of the night, cracking inappropriate jokes about paper cups (believe me, with green minds, everything is dirty) and generally just shooting the breeze. Then we all ran out into the rain and went our separate ways.

I heart my buddies. *sniff*