Monthly Archives: August 2012

…Eggs

What’s gross?

Cracking open a rotten egg while you’re preparing pumpkin pie.

What’s grosser?

Cracking open a second rotten egg and almost forgetting to check it in a clear drinking glass before dropping it in the pie mixture.

Thankfully, these are actually the first two rotten eggs we’ve ever had here in Dhaka. We get a lot of fecal matter, stray feathers and the like, but not black yolks or congealed albumen. Strangely, these eggs from the commissary, which supposedly gets extra nice eggs, and charges us a bit extra for the freshness and quality.

And, no pics, sorry. I was so grossed out that they instantly went out of the house. Maybe next time. 😉

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…my Dhaka Facebook

We’re nearing the final stretch of our time in Dhaka, and I realized that there are quite a few proto-posts festering in my mental queue. I hope I can get some of them out here before we go, but as you know, I’m not a very dedicated blogger. 🙂

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What follows is a list of the “likes” I’ve make on Dhaka-related Facebook pages.

When we first arrived here, one of our first questions to the kind sponsor who picked us up at the airport was, “Where do people go out to eat?” His response was brief. In his view, there were 2-3 places to go. Once we’d tried the food at those places, we were complete disheartened, and rarely ventured out to eat ever again. Thankfully, Dhaka is not the dreary food town it was even 2 years ago, and there are many more options. One indication of this is my first Facebook recommendation: Dhaka Foodies. The young urban class of Dhaka is all about mobile internet, and on this site, they review the restaurants, cafes and bakeries of the whole city. Luckily, the diplomatic enclave is one of the restaurant hotspots, so you’re sure to find something nearby on their page. It’s not as searchable as a Dhaka-Yelp would be, but it’s VERY active.

Your Bangla Tour helped me set up a tour of Old Dhaka and included a visit to an authentic local household as part of the trip. If I hadn’t needed to get back to Neko, he’d have extended our supposedly 6 hour tour into the late night, just to make sure we got a chance to visit the Ramadan night market. He focuses mostly on village tours, and tours for people interested in social justice and development initiatives with minority tribespeople. He’s a great guy!

The German Butcher now has a Facebook page, for all your updates on their product line. This is one of the few places you can buy a large roast, or pork sausage. If you want them to make the sausage more interesting, they take custom orders for ingredients (like apple-pork, or red bell pepper/capsicum). They carry bagels from The Secret Ingredient now, so you’ve got one stop shopping for things not available elsewhere.

The “Australian Butcher,” aka the White Hen Gourmet is in Banani, but worth the trip for meat, I hear. That’s relatively near the Korean store, but I don’t think they have a Facebook page.

However, as long as you’re in Banani, stop by Cream and Fudge, Happy Octopus, and Jatra. The first will satisfy your Coldstone Ice Cream cravings, the second is a ritzy kids shop that sells Pebble items among the rest of its inventory, the last is the handicrafts store that kinda reminds me of Pier One, back when Pier One was cheap and eclectic.

If you’re interested in handicrafts, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Aarong. This page is awesome for 1 reason–reading the comments of all the people who are horribly offended by the supposedly risque fashions and the high prices. The drama is incredible.

I get a lot of personal things, Christmas decor and wee care package items at Folk International, which I’ve mentioned before here often. Their Christmas selection is always astounding, at least in a predominantly Muslim country. Get there in October for the best options. You could also try the DhakaCraft Bazaar, but they’re not frequent posters on their Facebook page.

Puran Dhaka Walks will keep you apprised of their weekly Old Dhaka walk schedule. They offer Friday walking tours of the historic buildings in Dhaka, and are extremely knowledgeable about the area, unlike some other tours I’ve taken, and won’t mention here.

As far as restaurants go, I’ve got several in my FB likes, though listing them may say more about my pathetic eating habits than anything else. Liking them has led me to some great deals, and was my only way of knowing how to do delivery orders.

Pizza Hut
Nando‘s
Soi 71 
North End Coffee

Last, a list of resource pages, for events, shops, restaurants and happenings:

Been There: Bangladesh (the #1 tourbook for the country)
Diggin Dhaka (the #1 expat map of Dhaka)
Bangladesh Unplugged
BD Menu

There are heaps of other places which have joined Facebook in the last 2 years, e.g. Movenpick, but these are the ones I already had “liked.”

 

…visitors and visiting

Last week we had our first guests visit us in Dhaka, well unless you count the strangers who were coming here for various other reasons and were told to look us up. These were the first guests to use our overnight accommodations. They are also the last guests.

But, beyond dhaka’s lack of appeal for our friends and family….

The guests included one of Neko’s grandmothers, so we all reveled in family for a few days. I also got a chance to get more of my Dhaka on in three days than I had in the three, even six, months prior.

We started with a day tour of old Dhaka with “My Bangla Tour,” who we contacted through Facebook. Mr. London gave us a great tour of the area, even though we got to see some of the worst traffic I’d ever had in Dhaka. Thankfully, traffic was one of the items on our guests’ checklist of things to see, so they definitely got that.

We also got to see the inside of the pink palace, which I’d missed on my last tour. I didn’t know it was all done up as a museum, complete with 100-year old medical equipment and fancy dinnerware. I actually recommend the museum, if you get the chance. We stopped by the ferry terminal, saw some monuments, visited the Armenian church…. We missed the Lalbag and the night market (special for Ramadan), but the day was fully long without those.

On day 2, we got a chance to see the inner workings of the embassy, have lunch with Mr. A, and check out the flowers and playground at the club. Neko’s just barely big enough to fit in the baby swing now, but it’s still pretty precarious.

Day 3, still enjoying the traffic, we shopped our breath away at some of my favorite handicraft and pearl stores. I even picked up an embroidered picture, which I’d wanted to find for a while. Many of them are done in pastel greens and ochres, but they had a few at Aarong that were bolder, and we ended up with an interesting medallion.


Over the three days, we ate an Iftar, some Nando’s, and the embassy’s Sandwich Day specials, so I think they got a real taste of our lifestyle. I fact, I think they did everything in those three days that we ever do. Well… Except take a boat trip, but that wasn’t until yesterday, and they were already gone. 😦

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

…Baby Shower Hosting

A few weeks ago, we hosted a baby shower for our neighbors, who are having their first child. When the invitations went out, they had been told the child was a girl, but the day before, the news changed, so it was good that we’d made at least a few of the decorations gender neutral!

Welcome Baby!

It was hard to find anything baby themed here in Dhaka, because it’s not part of the culture to celebrate a baby before it actually arrives. It was hard to even find party supplies that were for adults, however, rather than kids birthdays. If you want a Ben-10 themed party, or Doremon, or Dora, you’re set. DIT 1 has everything you could ever want and more. At Lavender market, they even have balloons in odd animal shapes, but no normal ones. So, I had to make some, and use things that aren’t typically party supplies.

I made a banner from the only 3 colors of tag board/poster paper I found in all of the markets I searched. Luckily, those colors were pastel green, blue and pink. I used some of my weaving warp as the banner’s string. The banner flags also came together to make a Welcome Baby sign.

Sari window covering, banners and Neko’s toy pile (which was removed for the actual event, of course!)

A friend loaned me some old pink saris, and they made a great window covering, to block the view of our neighbor’s laundry lines, and hide the embassy’s bland beige curtains, but still let some light in.

Purple bed cover + metallic pink wrapping paper = colorful tablecloth

The flowers came from a wedding flower vendor, and are as glitzy as possible. They also had a weird gasoline smell, so I burned a candle in the dining room the day before to cover/eliminate it. I covered the table with a queen sized bed spread that I’d found at the handicrafts store (table cloths are almost all white here, and often embroidered, but not in a fun way, only in a formal holiday dinner way. There are also block printed cloths, but not in the diplomatic zone, you have to go to New Market for those). I cut out circles from metallic wrapping paper to drop on the tablecloth and match the sparkley flowers. If you really want to glam things up, the wedding shops on Elephant Road have everything crazy-glittery that you could ever want. A friend decorated the cupcakes for the party, and made them blue at the 11th hour when we’d heard of the gender change.

Blueberry-raspberry lemonade and the Ice Cream Sundae bar

Luckily, our commissary-purchased dishes and cups were blue, rather than the typical Solo-red, since we were trying to choose something that would look nice with the other colors. (Thanks Mr. A!). The punch just happened to be blue already as well, as was the punch-stand and the scarf that I used as a buffet cover.

Pin the face on the baby

We had two baby shower games, neither of which were particularly embarrassing or gross:

1. Pin the face on the baby, in which blindfolded party-goers stuck cut outs of the to-be-parents’ facial features onto a drawing of a baby. The result was somewhat Frankenstein-esque, but the game was fun.

2. Mad-libs, in which everyone filled out a card that had a mad-lib word description on it (i.e. “famous person’ name”). I read the completed story aloud, filling in the blanks with the words people had written down. I wrote the story myself, since I couldn’t find an appropriate one online.

All in all, the event went really well. I was surprised how grateful the to-be-parents were, and how smoothly it all came together. Our main room isn’t really meant for 30+ people, but we managed to squeeze in comfortably.

…random recent events

Mr. Adventure spotted someone unicycling in our neighborhood recently. That goes on a list of impractical vehicles in Dhaka, including the two MINIs, and the Ferrari.

Our adventure with the cat in the car last year has become one of the stories bored drivers tell each other outside the embassy. When it came up in a conversation with a friend’s driver, he was surprised to find out it was we Adventures who were the supporting cast to the cat’s starring role. I think the story must have gotten bigger in the interim, because he was more enthusiastic about knowing this than the experience should have warranted.

The sky has been blue at some point on roughly 50% of the previous 10 days. I think that might be a record. Not all day, but for at least a few minutes.

In my free time, I’ve been trying to build an identity for myself as a self-employed person. I’m trying to decide whether I want to sell my services mostly locally ( i.e. with the people at each post ) or over the Internet.

We’re participating in a community yard sale this week, so we’ve been sorting and tagging some stuff to bring. It’s all a bit of a mess right now. Hope people come to buy it!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad