As I have a whole bunch of good memories of my time in Bangladesh, I had to chop up the post in pieces… here’s part II.
My home away from home
Thanks to my expat colleague with a big apartment I was given “my own room with en-suite”. I also was able to use the services of his driver, cook and maid. This meant no need to bring a lot of stuff back and forth as my clothes stayed there and jokes about me being the only one traveling back home with clean clothes instead of dirty ones. I had it all figured out…
Mono’s place became a household name for us… all guests from abroad and locally were hosted here. At times we had a mix of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indians, Norwegians and a Belgian at dinner parties. Always great fun.
Rooftop BBQ’s and lobster
When I was in town “my” – by now you understand I had annexed them when I was there – driver, cook and maid where quite happy. “My” driver because I always wanted to see places other than the road between the office and the house. “My” maid because there was finally a lady to take care of. “My” cook because I found it important to enjoy food and take the time for it… every day. And I was always in for some extravagant dinner ideas.
The most fun ones were the rooftop BBQ’s. The cook then asked “Mam, diner?” to try to figure out what we could do this time. As it was wintertime in Belgium, I really missed having BBQ’s… and those jummy mini lobsters they have there. You could see his eyes lid up! I always asked to go along shopping for the food. Preferably by rickshaw to the Gulshan market. The sellers didn’t know the cook was with me and started to set their strategies to increase the prices if I would be buying something (while the cook was standing next to them). I knew this and always indicated they had to deal with my cook. Sorry guys…
Jackfruit and dragonfruit
I think my breakfast included by default dragon fruit and by the time we figured out that I AB-SO-LU-TE-LY loooooooooooooove jack fruit, that was also put on the daily menu. I desperately need to find a way to get my hands on jack fruit here in Belgium. I am on a mission.
The unexpected party
Day 3 of my first visit ever to Bangladesh… I think my jaw dropped to the floor when I entered the venue. The local team threw a party and this party could have been anywhere in a Western city… same music, a lot of people dancing, lightshow… gangnam style…
Shopping at Aarong
To pay respect to my teams (and because they all looked so very lovely… the ladies that is) I decided to buy some traditional dresses. No better place to start then at Aarong‘s. I really like what they stand for “dedicated to bring about positive changes in the lives of disadvantaged artisans and underprivileged rural women”.
The most beautiful piece I bought was probably my Jamdanee Saree, exactly the color I was going for. With the help of my colleague I could wear it the way it was intended (youtube was my plan B).
Being called “Mam Boss”
A lady in charge? … what is the name for that? Anyhow, I went by the name “Mam Boss”, “Gretel Mam”, or any other variant that exhumed enough status they could think of. Bless them.
A downside of “being important” or being treated as such was the limitation of freedom of movement. I had to negotiate anything which looked or smelled different than “being escorted by a trusted (male) companion in a jeep” or “going to a Western store”. You will see in the next posts the result of the negotiations…
An upside was that I always got to chose the food and restaurants :). Or maybe that was because they knew me… if I don’t get fed in time I am in a bad mood…