Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Twenty Taka"

          I'm on the way to getting my life back. I'm at the homestretch - one more online exam to go - so I thought I'd step out of the track for a minute and tell you about what's been keeping me busy.
          Earlier this week, I came through the gates at Suvarnabhumi airport, dressed in a turquoise Bangladeshi sari, with red lips, red wedge heels, my strawberry blonde hair in an up-do, and a functional laptop backpack on my back. It was actually entertaining collecting the stares, smiles, and comments from Dhaka to Bangkok. Immigration was definitely easier to pass at Dhaka in that getup. For anyone planning to travel to Bangladesh, you might want to consider wearing their traditional clothes - stylishly, mind you - to Shahjalal International Airport.
Me & Art; Me; Me & Dad
           You can probably guess my camera worked overtime on this trip to Bangladesh. I actually did take a lot of pictures, despite the fact that I was there for debate. To be honest, I would have probably never had the opportunity to visit the country if it weren't for the tournament, the 3rd Asian BP Debate Championships, hosted by North South University.



         Here's the part you ask me how I did and I tell you swell. Truthfully though, my partner and I put up a real good fight - together. =] Pon was eloquent and unnerved from round to round as usual. As for me, I'm 4 months experienced now, and I personally feel that both my progress and determination have been boosting exponentially. Kudos to me. 


Team Chula 2
          As for being in Bangladesh, the environment was nothing like I've ever experienced. Firstly, it's a Muslim nation, so dress appropriately. If you forget that fact or underpacked - which was my case - don't worry! Solution: get a sari, or a kurta for men. I got a beautiful cotton sari for only 1700 taka. That's like 680 baht, including the two-piece you wear under the sari. Silk ones are about triple the price, but that's still a good deal. Don't try to buy one by yourself though or wear one yourself with only instructions from Google. Get a local to help you!
         But truth be told, there is a lot to be alarmed about in Bangladesh. To begin with, the traffic is the worst. I swear I did not see a traffic light there. There are no lanes and no rules. Maybe just one, which is  honk continuously.  Expect to get harassed by the poor when you're sitting in the car during a jam. They can get aggressive and really in your face too. And don't even try to escape the smell of cigarette smoke; there is no such sanctuary in Bangladesh. And Bangladesh has the worst mosquito problem in the world. They're everywhere and can suck through clothes! Another airport tip: don't go into your gate until boarding time. Confined area + mosquitos... you do the math. Better to roam around in the airport. 




         Bangladeshi food however makes up for the madness. Okay, the take-out meals we got for lunch during the debate days were... crap. But if you get the opportunity to eat a home-cooked meal or hotel buffet there, you're in for a flavorful treat. I know Pon absolutely loved the biriani rice. I was crazy for roti and chutneys. I have to extend a special thanks to Zaber who treated us to a home-cooked lunch at his home, introduced us to Bengali contemporary music, got a car to drive us around, and helped me buy a sari.


Zaber's Crib. Bengali Coke!
          Overall, what I value most about the whole trip was meeting great debaters, adjudicators, and organizers from all over Asia. And apart from debate, downtime with perverted word games really took my mind off reality, which was what I needed. (1 word: pwnage!) 


Fraternizing with the Japanese team. Do I blend in?
The Chula gang at Asian BP 2011
Definitely excited about meeting more people at Worlds (Philippines) in 2 weeks. =]

Peace.  

6 comments:

  1. Woah, looks like a lot of fun! I love your Japanese girl-blonde hair-turquoise sari-red heels/lips getup :D One question though, in the fourth picture, are those Bengali kids in jail?!

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  2. It's just a gate. There are poor people who loiter around at the airport all day, waiting to catch a glimpse of "rich people".

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  3. Looks like you had fun. You look great in sari too. 8)

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  4. man, u're awesome :)
    traveling the world. keep up the good work ^0^
    look amazing by the way.

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