A few thoughts having been here over a week: Bangladesh

– Baridhara, is not the real Bangladesh. The lush greens, beautiful bungalows, new cars zooming around, the quiet and clean neighboring streets and well dressed people and English language heard everywhere is not the country’s reality.

– Air conditioning is a luxury to avoid- rather than central AC, the individualized systems has already made some of us sick.

– You are getting real, organic food, for real prices. I love that I eat food prepared for me that is not infused with hormones and just taste like what vegetables, fruits, and meats are supposed to taste like. But the prices of food is quite high and I can’t imagine how the average Bangladeshi feeds himself/herself and the family.

– Talking out loud about how lattes and pizzas are available in cafes around the city is rude- while it is a developing country, you really can find everything here and having to hear foreigners exclaim at the menu with surprise comes off as condescending to me. Yes, I myself was surprised but you don’t have to make a show of it. The country is diverse in wealth, obviously, and modernity has been rapidly slipping into place, and this is a reality that should have been clear right as one landed at the airport.

– No matter, I will always be ripped off and will have to pay a bit more for rides, clothes, food, deliveries, services…

– That still doesn’t make it right. But, oh well.

– The no plastic policy here is so amazingly ahead of any environmental reforms in the United States. It is a weird transition to throw garbage in bins without plastic but still, talk about protecting the environment. This also includes the CNGs that don’t use petrol. Amazing.

– 6:30 is the unsaid, social curfew for women. Sad, but true. If in a group though, not a problem. But I think this has been one of the biggest transitions as in a way, I am giving up some of the independence I enjoyed growing up in the U.S.

– People stare. It doesn’t matter if you are Bangladeshi, look like you are South Asian, or if you look like a foreigner. You will be stared at, and I thought this was interesting because it really does not just apply to foreigners.

– I have never had such fast internet in the apartment but when it goes off with the electricity, the frustration can be a bit of a shock. But I am getting used to it and almost like the bit of disconnectedness I face as a result from the rest of the world.

More thoughts to come soon.

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