Monday, September 26, 2011

Day out on the boat

[Ibriham and Sam the Fearless]

[brick kiln]

[more brick kilns]

[Liane and Andrea]

[the engine room]

[dredging 'machine pump']

[where bricks come from]

[flp flps - banned]

[where bricks are transported]

[Team Orange on route to rowing race]

[Ray and the rest of the Team]

Thursday, September 22, 2011


[inside maybe the only church in Dhaka - supposedly the
PMs family showed up here the next day]

[This women insisted that I take her picture. Smiling isn't as common it seems.

[the new and improved view outside my window -
and Mom, to think that the Japanese Maple was a problem...]

[old view from outside my bedroom window]

[over pass down Airport Road]

[Many different brands of cereals - you can only
find corn flakes, and one kind of rice krispies]

[Bad pineapples]

[passing up bamboo, one level at a time]

[Bashing heads]

[my 10,000 other roommates disposing another late
roommate of mine - a cockroach]

It seems every day I'm finding new roommates. There are the few hundred thousand ants that live somewhere near the pantry that gather in matter of seconds with the first scent of food/sugar/dead cockroaches. It's actually amazing how fast they respond - I'm thinking of holding my own timed experiment. This picture above was taken within a few minutes after I killed the poor cockroach (a nightly affair).
There are also many unknown and unidentified bugs living in my bed. I wake up in the middle of each night with some new kind of bite, but can't find the culprit.
Not pictured above are my other roommates - giant spiders, geckos, and Ray (also from BC)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Streets, Kids, and Street Kids

Dear Family

The area I'm living in and where the University is located, Uttara, is supposedly one of the nicest neighbourhood's in Dhaka, save maybe for Gulshan - an expat hub. It's a hard concept to grasp that your next door neighbours don't even have a house, but are just living off some vacant property in a small tin shack. Agriculture has been urbanized and maximized to fit every square foot. And again, it seems that almost every building in Uttara is undergoing construction. The men outside my window arrive every morning at a quarter to seven and will stay well past ten at night mixing cement. Maybe they're already residents?

[Outside my apartment - the family that lives on our first floor]

["The Boss" - security guard]

[Walk home from IUBAT]

I always scoffed at pictures of 'third world' children taken by my contemporaries. Maybe I was uncomfortable with the idea? It was probably more selfish, I was more likely just jealous. Either way, I'm a hypocrite. These kids are just too damn cute and they love to have their picture taken - for reasons I'm not quite sure. They are well aware that they aren't going to be tagged in any album, and were not quite FB friends yet. I guess it's the novelty of the digital camera.

These pictures are taken about half a block from my home, on my walk to the university. All day long the children (and some adults) will come running and yelling "Hi! How are you?" to come shake your hand. That's pretty much the extent of their english - still better than my Bengali.

The kid in the last picture is named Abi. He's super legit.

With Love,
Daniel R. Hawkins

ps Mom, you can click on the images to make them bigger

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Arrival of the Midnight Child

Dear Family,
I arrived safely in Dhaka last Monday, just after midnight, and what I was also told the hour in which Eid commenced - a Muslim celebration, the end of Ramadan. I was born into Dhaka a midnight child. A nickname (or danname) that I have dawned myself, and will not share with the locals in light of Mr Rushdie's popularity here.

My birth was brief. Just moments after arriving in my new apartment I realized that I had left behind a smaller bag at the airport - a bag that had purchased for me at the airport, a bag carrying 2kg of books, just enough weight to put me over the maximum limit (apparently weight displaced over two bags weighs less). Ibriham, my driver, took me back to the airport. My marital status was quickly questioned, and he was surprised to hear that I was single. I can't blame him. Once I had collected my bag and got back in the van, Ibriham had declared "you are sexist", "your bag, you are sexist!". I was trying to recall what I had said about marriage, and was also surprised by Ibriham's extensive vocabulary. I tried to get him to define "sexism" in his own words, and provide him with mine, but all I got back in return was "you are sexist". I changed the subject. But moments before getting out of the van I realized he was calling me "a success", referring to the retrieval of my bag.

This photo is taken from my bedroom, looking west. I suspect I wont have much of a view in a few weeks time; our neighbours are building a 9 story building less than an arms reach away from my window. Constructed with bamboo, the buildings here grow almost at the same rate as the indigenous grass. Bamboo appears to be used for practically everything, while the newly constructed complexes don’t seem to serve any purpose; unfinished and uninhabited apartment buildings lie everywhere (reminiscent of downtown Detroit’s white-flight!). Yet, construction is pervasive and constant. This paradox is due to, allegedly, corrupt building contracts – a quick and easy buck for contractors and government. I’ll save stories of corruption for another time.

This picture is taken from our rooftop, 4 stories high, again looking west.

Pictures from the street to follow!

With much love,
Daniel R. Hawkins

ps I trust Jasper is being well kept. Remember that he only gets the Kibbles every other day.