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Tickle · the · Pear

4:43 am - and I've been up for an hour (but I get to listen to All Things Considered live)

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So by the time I'm kind of habituated to Dhaka time it'll be time to go back. :/

My departure date from the hotel was incorrect, and I couldn't change my flight to leave earlier, so I decamped to the Westin Dhaka. Overall a lovely place to hang out and work and watch the Royal Wedding. That's one situation where the time difference was favorable - I watched on the BBC and the ceremonies started at 4pm local time. I couldn't help noticing how heavily the former Miss Middleton was breathing during the service. And those nuns sitting nearby had the best seats! I didn't think the Anglicans had nuns, but whatever.

My stay has gone well, although I haven't seen much beyond the hotel-office-American Club (where the meeting was held) circuit. I haven't seen much of the city. Yesterday my colleague and I went to the nearest branch of Aarong, a chain of stores which support BRAC, "the world's largest NGO." I forgot my camera cable so I'll post photos when I'm home.

Lonely Planet was right: there is an enormous press of people, everywhere, and overwhelmingly male. I think I counted 10 women on the plane from Doha, and at the hotel I only saw one woman at the reception - not even a hotel maid. I was also surprised that the English language ability here isn't as high as I'd expected for a former British colony. Lots of people have traveled or studied in the Philippines, or worked with Filipinos. Another surprise was that during the training I facilitated, I asked people to count off for small group work, and participants were *very* reluctant to leave their colleagues. My main disappointment is I wasn't able to accompany a field visit to Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) sites because of scheduling. I've been eating a lot of curries, but I haven't had a chance to eat at one of Dhaka's many excellent Korean restaurants. Alas!
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