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Around the world in a daze

A quarter of the way through

BANGLADESH | Sunday, 24 October 2010 | Views [425]

Well it’s been three months and I’m still going strong and actually enjoying Bangladesh, despite the heat, traffic and constant illness.

If it’s not food poisoning, it’s sunstroke or a resurgence of my long gone asthma thanks to the thick pollution. My immune system is screaming at me – get the hell out of Bangladesh.

But I am determined to persevere.

We now have a fully furnished apartment, complete with a table tennis table, which we hope will be enough to lure our friends from Gulshan over for a tournament and taste of the Dhanmondi culture. They may live in the expat part of town but we have the French, German and Russian centres, all with great cafes, film festivals and shows.

We have a beautiful lake and have actually started making the most of it by running or walking around it in the morning. I choose to ignore the piles of rubbish in and around the lake and the man who goes by in a boat picking up the trash. Instead I focus on the crazy Bangladeshi exercise classes going on in the small parks around the lake. The older exercisers enjoy something like tai chi, but with a lot more grunting, followed by a nap on one of the benches. The teenagers do some sort of serious boot camp, with lifting heavy planks and building strange bridge type things to balance across. And the women are my favourite. They still wear a sari or salwar kameez and often sandals as they attempt to power walk around the lake, but the power walks are more like dawdles and any work they managed to achieve is instantly destroyed with a quick break for ca (tea made with condensed milk and about four tablespoons of sugar).  

Any belief that we would have evenings spare to contemplate life were soon dashed after arriving here. There is at least one event on every weekend, often two or three, plus birthday dinners throughout the week, dinner parties, brunches and just about anything. Yes the number of places we can go out is limited but the events certainly aren’t.

We’ve started to learn little tricks of getting the foods we crave that aren’t normally available at our local supermarket. There are a couple in town that sell such things as barbeque Shapes, So Good, Red Skins and even Boost chocolate bars. And as we approached the three month milestone, we started taking holidays and bringing back goodies from Malaysia or presents from Australia. Our pantry is now stocked with such delicacies as muesli, balsamic vinegar and pesto. It’s as if we never left home! The Australia Club has just had a new shipment and I was overcome with joy as I peered into the fridge and saw not only Boags Draught but also Boags Premium – at about a third of the price you pay in Tassie. I spent the weekend lying by the pool sipping a Premo, better than home!

So finally we are settling in. Life is sometimes hard, but that is to be expected in the third most unlivable city in the world. We all have off days and take it in turns to pamper each other. The next few months are jam packed full of holidays including the second eid and Christmas. With tropical beaches beckoning it is easy not to get too stressed out by Dhaka.

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