Posted by: tommecrow | November 9, 2010

Setting the scene…

It’s 9pm. The electricity has turned off.  Again. Candles on. It’s warm outside, probably about 30 degrees C. Laptop works, so throw on a bit of Damien Rice. Found a left over cold beer in the fridge from fireworks night, crack it open. Lie back in the hammock, watch the gecko run accross the wall. Relax, day finished.

Relaxing on the balcony.

Posted by: tommecrow | November 8, 2010

Swimming…

Firework Night in Dhaka, on my balcony, with beer, wine, curry, and my new hammocks.... oh yes, who said you can't have fun in Bangladesh. You've just got to know where to find it...

Sometimes you end up in places doing things you don’t expect to be doing. Since I’ve been here I’ve done a presentation to hundreds of teachers, been the guest of honour at an awards ceremony, and fired illegal fireworks off my balcony next to the army base for Guy Fawkes night. But one thing takes the biscuit. Having the 50m National Swimming Pool all to myself…

Mirpur National Swimming Complex

Only the National Swimming Team are allowed to train in it.. and it’s nice, with a huge stadium style spectator area. I’m not sure when/if the national team ever train, because it’s always empty. My organisation works with the National Swimming Federation, so they’ve taken pity on the pasty white boy running about in his speedos.

The only problem is getting there. It’s only a 20min bus journey away, but you have to cross the army cantonment. Foreigners aren’t technically allowed, but I’ve worked out that if you sneak onto a packed bus the military police never see you!! I’ve succeeded twice and failed once, when the bus driver kicked me off the bus (seeing his future as time in prison for aiding a foreigner to steal Bangladeshi military secrets…). I’m not quite sure what they’re trying to protect, or what I could possibly do from a 25 person bus crammed with 50 people.

On another note, the guy in the passport office dealing with getting me a new visa (my one runs out at the end of this month) has moved desk. He’s still in the same office, probably about a metre from his old desk, but it means the 2 month process of getting a new one has to start again. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do if I don’t get a new one, or if the new guy decides to move desk.

At the moment I’m working on my laptop in darkness waiting for the power to return, and hiding from the Mosad Mosquitos that seem to inhabit Asia. The Israelis aren’t allowed into Bangladesh, but I think they’ve trained these bastards in the art of ‘hide and seek’. I had one bite me on the lip last night whilst I was asleep, and I woke up with a fat lip. I’m sleeping with deet under my pillow tonight ready for the counter attack..

Posted by: tommecrow | November 7, 2010

new way, new life

India

Right, first post on a new blog. I’m currently living and working in Dhaka Megacity, in Bangladesh. I arrived here approximately one month ago, after spending 2 months eating lots of curry in India. According to friends my transformation from Brit to Bangladeshi is 45% complete. I now do ‘Banglapoo’s’ – slightly squidgy poo’s commonly found on the streets of Dhaka – have a 1950’s style Indian bicycle, wear a lungi to bed, and have tumeric stained yellow hands from eating with my fingers (I’d like to note that I don’t own any cutlery in my house, so it’s fingers or nothing).

My accomodation is located in the second office of the organisation I work for, about 5 minutes walk around the block from the head office that I currently work in. So basically, I live in a fifth floor office apartment. It may sound strange, but I found out yesterday that there are people sleeping in all the offices!  I feel like a mouse. When everyone goes home the offices are transformed into sleeping quarters, and the office tea rooms are converted to full kitchens cooking up the most incredible Bangladeshi food with gatherings of people. At the end of the evening everything is packed away ready for the workers to arrive in the morning. You wouldn’t even know.

Dhaka is an insane city. Shit and filth line the street. There are people everywhere. Busses zoom down roads missing people by millimetres. Trains chug by with children running along the tops of the carriages. Shops sell everything, apart from the one thing you need.

This is contrasted with the peace and tranquility of the countryside, where the grass is greener than green and the roads are clean.

Drowning is the leading cause of death in children in Bangladesh. There are ponds and ditches everywhere. You’re never more than 10m away from water. My job is to stop the little buggers drowning. I’m analysing data, developing manuals, and will soon be involved in teaching swimming.

More on all that later in the week. Right now I’m stuck in the office and should really do some work.

Actually, food first. Curry, ay?

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