Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dhaka, you rocked me all week long

The Amarya Haveli guest house, where I am staying in New Delhi, has 6 rooms. None of them are scented with urinal cakes, which I've decided is what was behind the cloying odor of my guest house room in Dhaka. I identified the small white objects as moth balls when I saw them in the closet of my room, but upon seeing them (quite logically in a urinal) today in Delhi I made the slow connection. My mentally retarded logic is a likely result of consuming, say, 1/4 of a cracker on Thursday, but this delay in processing time meant I left my clothes in that god-forsaken closet the entire week. Upon leaving for Delhi yesterday, I sluggishly managed to wrap them, as they came out of the closet in nearly toxic condition, in three plastic bags to avoid contaiminating my suitcase contents, including gifts (now, that wouldn't be a very nice present).

Earlier this week, the urinal cakes made an appearence in the sink of a bathroom where I stood retching outside a hotshot government press conference. The saltine I had forced down earlier didn't sit well during a hair-raising one-hour drive over unevenly paved roads spent playing chicken with cement trucks.

The scenery, on the otherhand, was lovely. Lush palm trees lined the road and we passed canals, ponds and green flooded fields--Bangladesh is below sea level and about a third of the country is flooded every monsoon.

Men with long white beards rode bicycles and small boys peered out of madrassas at the traffic going by. Women in purple purdah hijabs pulled goats on leashes. Compared to Rajasthani road traffic (you won't get far with the camels, donkeys and goat herds), it was all pretty ordinary.


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