Monday, June 18, 2007

A Quick Recap of Saturday and Sunday

On Saturday I had breakfast, read a little while, took a short nap, then headed to a place called Café Mango, which the other students had told me about, to do some studying.

Café Mango is the best impression of an American coffee shop any of us have found thus far. It is also the only one that actually serves coffee (everyone drinks tea, and Nescafe is the only alternative). Café Mango is small, maybe 700 square feet, and contains a sofa with a coffee table and several small tables with 2-4 chairs. It’s dim, but clean, and seems to be the hangout for young hand-holding couples. Now, for most of you, that last sentence probably didn’t resonate. Couples – as in boys and girls, together, holding hands. It’s pretty crazy stuff in this part of the world!

Anyway, I studied for about 3 hours, then had lunch with some other students there.
In the late afternoon, my roommates and I were just hanging out at the apartment, semi-watching/semi-making-fun-of a Bollywood movie, when one of us looked out the window and noticed the particularly ominous clouds beginning to surround us. Within five minutes, the sky was completely black and there was so much water hitting the windows that you could no longer see out them.
It was still pouring an hour and a half later when we were leaving the house for dinner. Our doorman actually tried to stop us from going out – but we rolled up our pants and waded along with our umbrellas anyway.

After dinner, two American girls from Smith College (along with all 15 students in our program) came over to our apartment for “mashti,” or dessert. (I’ll tell you about mashti another time.) One of the girls has an American father and Bangladeshi mother, and so is fluent in both languages, though she can’t read or write in Bangla. She has lived in Bangladesh since she was four, and still returns here to stay with her parents on school breaks. She told us she would give us some tips on the “nightlife.”

We went to bed incredibly late, which means I’m quite tired and the rest of this entry will be relatively short.

Classes started again at 9 a.m. on Sunday, and we resumed learning the script. We learned 5 more “consonants,” one more vowel, and one more invisible vowel. I place consonants in quotations because it is not so much a letter as a sound captured in a symbol. For example, today we learned “ng” and “sh,” which are the sounds, and not the actual names of the characters (umo and shat).

I had lunch with several classmates at a restaurant near the school, where the owner insisted that we try one of everything (literally). He eagerly placed items on our table (which was located in his office as a courtesy to keep other patrons from staring at us), told us how to say their names in Bangla, and watched each of us try them. Mind you, we must have had at least 12 different dishes between the five of us – more than we could ever eat - and the total cost of the lunch came out to about $2.50 each. Crazy.

What was crazier was how we all felt afterwards… spending our afternoon nearly doubled over in pain. Ahh yes… experiencing the culture! For the most part recovered, we all sat in the main room together to do our homework, and are calling it an early night.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I see that you are really getting out there and trying new things! How are you liking the food? Is it similar to anything you have had before? The manager of the restaurant seemed very nice. I can't believe how cheap the food is! (OK, I can believe it, but you get the idea!) Not sure I could deal with all of that rain, lol. How are your feet holding up? :) Study hard!!