One of the things that expats do to have fun in Dhaka is go on vacations to nearby countries. There are, of course, two reasons for this: 1. You might never be back on this side of the globe. 2. You need to take a break from Dhaka itself, especially its traffic.
One of the places to go is Thailand, where you can go shopping for things other than Salwar Kameez (the local clothes), where you can eat tasty Thai food, and where you can get a great massage. There’s a direct flight there, so it’s a weekend trip. Yesterday we didn’t go to Thailand, but we had a Thai holiday just in our neighborhood.
I started the day by shopping at a charity clothing sale in support of the School of Hope, a school in a poor community that charges only 4 taka (less than 2 cents) per month in tuition.* The clothing was all donated seconds from local garment factories and everything was between 1 and 2 dollars.
After coming home, we had appointments at a Thai Day Spa for aromatherapy massages… wow. What a nice place. It’s called Samran Day Spa and has a variety of body treatments for men and women. When we were there we saw diplomats, businessmen, volunteers… They greeted us with tea when we arrived and brought us back to our rooms. The last time I had Thai massage, I was on a kind of futon on the ground, this spa used tables. Under the face hole in the massage table, they had placed a bowl of floating flowers. The masseuse has to be pretty limber, as they kneel on the table to so the pressure point therapy. My room had its own private bath and changing area. I highly recommend the place. We only had a 60 minute massage, but it felt like one of the longest I’d ever had, and they do up to 2 hours, as well as waxing, mani-pedi, scrubs and facials.
After the massage, we decided to go out for Thai food, down in Gulshan-1, at @Corner Thai. It’s located on the top floor of the Navana tower shopping center (use the elevator in the shopping arcade). It was the most expensive meal we’ve had here so far, but wouldn’t break the bank back in the states (about $35 for 2 people). It was also the spiciest. I have finally found a country where the chili pepper designations on the menu will feel spicy even to me. Yeah!!
It was a fun Thai escape. Today I have my first day of substitute teaching, wish me luck!
*The reason they charge anything is that most NGOs have found that a minimal charge has made the recipients value their education (or other charitable donation) more. They’ve paid for it, and they’ll work hard to see it succeed.