…Folk International

Several days ago, the CLO (Community Liason Office) at the embassy held a handicrafts and bakery fair, mostly in anticipation of the holidays. We went, but didn’t find anything we had to have right then, perhaps we’re a bit phlegmatic about decision-making.

Today, however, we realized that our attempts to live with an undressed dining room table were failing, as we were noticing scratches already. So, off to “Folk International” we went.

“Folk International” is on Road 108 at House 19 in Gulshan, behind the Wonderland Park. While we were there, a cricket game was going on across the street, and small children were playing on some swings and slides while the spectators watched the game.

The shop carries a wide variety of things made in Bangladesh, especially things made with local fabrics and dyes. They had some really lovely kurtas and saris, handspun and handloomed, and with a price to match, as well as things for every day use. I’ve been reading about local textiles recently, and how important to the activist community in Bangladesh they are. Apparently, you can tell a lot about political affiliation by the clothes people choose to wear, handwoven things (as they were in Gandhi’s movement) signify a pride in national heritage, and an activist patriotism. Fashions that are made with foreign fabrics are either a sign of cosmopolitanism or a cultural import from India, via Bollywood. There are religious symbolisms and socio-economic issues illustrated in both the cut and style of the local clothes. Unfortunately, I haven’t got a clue what they are, so when I finally find something that fits me right, I’ll probably be proclaiming an affiliation that I am unaware of. However, until I find a Kameez (long tunic) with a zipper in it, I don’t think I’ll be able to fit into it unless I dislocate my shoulders. They have absolutely no stretch, and are relatively form fitting, when fashionably made.

Folk International also carried tablecloths and napkins, so we will finally be eating in a semi-civilized manner. They also had gift items, jewelry, men’s items, and a variety of Christmas ornaments and decor (annually between October and December), including fun reusable gift bags made of the local jute fibers. We got a couple of these bags to wrap potential gifts in. It’s a really nice shop, and reasonably priced. They have fixed prices, which is nice for foreign types like us who aren’t very good at bargaining in the street market, much less the brick-and-mortar shops. We might go back later for some Christmas ornaments or party supplies, if our boat shipment (HHE) doesn’t arrive in time for the holidays. It seems like one of _the_ places for expats to shop, as there were French and English speakers while we were there, but apparently local people also frequent it, probably just not right in the middle of the Friday high-prayer time, when we were shopping.

After we left that store, we went on a futile salwar kameez hunting trip (I highly recommend the collection at Saporo cotton, if you haven’t been though, SO CUTE, but soooo not for people with chubby arms), visited the local Movenpick for some incredibly refreshing Swiss sorbet and ice cream, and stopped to look at a Thai Day Spa which was recommended.

In other news, our UAB (air shipment) came yesterday, so we now have a _few_ things we thought we couldn’t live without. Unfortunately, some of them were unexpectedly provided to us in our welcome kit, though not on the list. So, in retrospect, we wish we’d brought some more home decor and entertainment. However, we did get the Wii and some great board games, so, should you ever want a place to play, our’s is the house.

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