"Keep working on a plan. Make no little plans. Make the biggest you can think of, and spend the rest of your life carrying it out." Harry S. Truman

Monday, August 23, 2010

New country, new background, and first impressions.

The last two weeks were spent mostly in the Unicef car, fighting the grueling Dhaka traffic, and visiting big, empty spaces while trying to picture our furniture, and our lives in them. The process was rendered even more difficult by the fact that I fell madly in love with an apartment endowed with the most spectacular view (see picture), but, alas! one unredeemable flaw : they are building two apartment complexes on the next plot, and the construction will most likely last two years... Bye, bye, beautiful view ! Thing is, everything I saw after that felt like "yeah, bof !" But I've now come back to my senses, and settled for an apartment without a fantastic view, but offering other precious commodities : location, a minimum of greenery, space, generator backing, etc. We hope to move in by mid-September. Our shipment is due to arrive a few days later, same for the car. So, all in all, we hope to return to a regular routine by the end of September, and I'll then be able to go back to work, writing, blogging, etc. It will not be a moment too soon. All in all, we've been living out of our suitcases for almost three months, now.

My first impressions of Dhaka? It is interesting to be living in a predominantly Muslim country. In Nigeria, we were in the South-Eastern part, which is heavily Christian. As for Hyderabad, it used to be a state ruled by the Nizams, and the old city remains Muslim, but the vast majority of people are Hindus.

We arrived in Bangladesh during Ramadan, and right now, we're told that everything is geared up toward the upcoming Eid Festival - shops have shorter hours, and at the same time, businesses are open on days when they're usually closed (Fridays) because this is the time when people shop madly to give presents for Eid. Everything is a little slow because people are fasting. The other day, as we came out of one apartment, we saw a gathering of men seating on mats on the floor around small piles of food. It was all the building maintenance people, the drivers, etc, breaking the fast together - that first meal is called Iftar. We are also told that even though the poverty in Bangladesh is crushing, the begging at the moment is worse than usual, because of Ramadan. This is the time when people are supposed to give to the poor. Finally, the traffic is like nothing I've ever experienced before (except maybe Lagos, when we happened to go there). Hyderabad was bad at certain hours of the day, but overall, one got around. And it will get worse, as children are out of school at the moment. I'm not looking forward to that.

That's it for today. More to come, as we slowly settle in.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bye Bye, India

This is the last picture I took, on the way to the airport, on August 15. Six years almost to the day after I landed in India for the first time (we arrived on August 18, 2004.)

As you drive, you suddenly come upon all these statues waving at you. Perfect, right?

More to come, as I slowly settle into our new life in Bangladesh and also find my way back to this blog, which I have neglected lately.