Saturday, February 22, 2014

Traveling in Dhaka

Let’s go buy some more tech!

So. I really want to send back to the states the film I have collected so far. Why? Well….1) it could get stolen…2) it could get confiscated. Originally the plan was to send out a 32gb flash a week. Well…I am sitting here in Dhaka and…..I have already filled a 1 TB external hard drive. Obviously, I do not have enough room on my 10 flash drives. So now what…smarty? Gotta get out and locate some more TB drives! Dang it. Budget beginning to unravel…..a bit.

This is gonna be painful (pocket wise) but it has to be done.

External storage for documentary footage
(Photo: JLewis)
Alright decision made…now….how to locate this stuff…in a really large city….where I do not speak the language….and ……am a weirdo female American…….which…I am worried will hurt my bargaining potential. But I do look like shit. So…maybe tougher…isn?

The process took me all day. Many stores here are “hidden” in that the entrances are not on the street. Instead there might be a five story building with a blind hidden entrance…and inside is basically a giant mall! There are no signs outside to give you this hint. You have to know the name of the building. Maybe it is a Bangladesh game? Yeah….for the one western person who cannot speak the language and decided to travel here. A game just for me.

Writing down the name on a piece of paper is no good here. Few people can read. You have to learn to say it and pronounce it correctly. Anyone who knows me….probably can see where this could then be problematic. I am total shit with even correct pronunciation of my own language. It was funny…one person totally saw this when I was trying to leave Bangladesh, the day before the strike, and he made me repeat a phrase…I swear to God….40 times. I could not stop laughing….but I knew he was dead serious. He knew how shit I was and that I would have no chance in hell of getting where I needed to if I could not 1) say it back right and 2) remember what I had just said (another issue for me…short term foreign language memory).

Oh well…In spite all of the above Jennifer road blocks…I persevered and said goodbye to a lot of cash. Good bye a lot of cash! …OH…..and I survived the strike….but we will cover that later.

No one knows their city!

Rickshaws in Dhaka, Bangladesh (Photo: JLewis)
Ok. So what is up with this? In every city I have traveled I have gotten in rickshaws and cabs…and in almost every case….the driver would say yeah fine I can take you there….ok…they wouldn’t actually say that…but nod yes….which…..I took to mean that. I mean….wouldn’t you? And then they’d have absolutely no idea where I needed to go. Happened almost every single time! How is this possible? How can these people be FROM these cities….BE CAB DRIVERS! And have NO idea how to get around in their city? Ok ok….how can I judge when I cannot even remember how to say thank you….OH YES I CAN…dhan'yavada! Ha! Yeah…..I know…not exactly tit for tat…I loose. Fine. 

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