I promised you photos of the Marine Ball and here we are, all dressed up. I apologize for the picture quality, but these are compressed images. Mr. A is wearing the tux we had done earlier this year and which he was smart enough to pack in the air freight. I, however, had to have something made here, which is pretty common in the Foreign Service, but I didn’t have much time to do it in. The typical method is to bring in a picture to have the tailor/dressmaker copy, but I didn’t have any fashion magazines or a printer for my computer. Plus all the dresses I found seemed too fussy and complicated to copy easily. I drew my dress freehand (complete with darts, zippers, and stitch-marks, thanks to my sewing experience and a year of living with a fashion design student). The fabric I found at Sopora Silk. I was worried we’d all end up with the same fabrics because everyone shops at that store for fabric, but most people opted for a solid fabric with embroidery or other embellishment custom-made at the tailor’s.
The tailor, Shaheen, is also the guy everyone goes to, and he did a reasonably good job, particularly given the short turn-around time.
The middle-stage of the dress, when I was getting fitted, was very amusingly sized, but it was all fixed for the final product. There was only a single odd seam that bugged me. Shaheen is also a character himself, a bit like Seinfeld’s soupnazi, and is expensive for Dhaka. But, he’s really convenient, and generally successful at achieving your vision for a dress.
The ball itself was a cross between a wedding and a prom, i.e. a ceremony followed by food and dancing. The DJ played lots of hits from the 1970s and on, but I missed hearing some of the classic dance music of the Big Band and Swing eras,
and there weren’t many slow songs either. I know I’m a bit of an outlier in preferring those dances though. The food was lovely, and they even had real sushi!The Marine Ball is a tradition at every post, slightly different from the Marine Balls at the big Marine Bases, but with elements that are universal across all the festivities. We can expect many years of these balls in the future.
For some other experiences of Marine Balls in the Foreign Service: