The Shikka Learning Tour from Ontario (and Oregon) has arrived in Bangladesh. The group has a blog www.mccbangladesh.blogspot.com, that you can visit to learn more about them. Early morning pick up at the airport and a wonderful bangla breakfast we went shopping for appropriate clothing for the ladies.
Walking out of the CR Flat it started to rain a little bit, not hard, but enough to make us a little damp, and for me to realize that I had forgotten my umbrella. We went to a shopping complex and haggled a little bit for some slightly cheaper clothing, before eating a wonderfully flavourful indian lunch. As we left the shopping complex the sky was in constant motion, changing from light gray, to black, slipping and sliding. The rain was coming, made all the more obvious as thunder cracked and lightning split the ever darkening sky. Rickshaws were quickly found and the return journey to Mohammadpur was underway. Then, half way home, it hit, slowly, huge drops of water landed on the road, exploding into thousands of tiny fragments, faster and faster they fell until it was a torrential downpour. Paper bags were disintegrating in our hands, gamchas raised overhead to block the rain were quickly soaked through, as were our clothes, to the point where we might as well have been swimming.
In the downpour, people got confused, the normally beacon-like whiteness of us foreigners was hidden under the rickshaw covers protecting people from the rain. The rain-water dripping into my eyes and the chaos of the quickly flooding roads prevented me from focusing my attention on the other rickshaws around me. And within seconds the other rickshaws are out of sight, I assumed they all had rushed on ahead, heading to Iqbal Road, our destination. Our rickshaw, with three passengers, was the heaviest, so I assumed we were last, but it was not so. We arrived at Joyce's apartment only to realize that no one else had arrived yet. How had we passed all the other rickshaws? Then Matt with the other girls arrived, but the boys weren't with them. I was frustrated at this point because the rickshaws were supposed to be staying together, but we always say that and they never do. The problem was, the boys didn't know where we were going. So, off I went, wading through water, walking down the flooded streets, looking for the lost boys. At the end of the street, who should I meet, but the rickshaw wallah who had been driving them, with another passenger in the rickshaw. I called him over and he told me which direction to go, but before he left, I nicely gave him some choice words about not taking advantage of people and stealing from them. I went in the direction the rickshaw wallah pointed me, and there walking down the street towards me were two large white half-drowned-rat men, somewhat scared and confused, and me happy to see them, also a half-drowned-rat man, still frustrated at the rickshaw wallah for taking advantage of them and me, and happy that all worked out well.
We finished the day with some more shopping, a little time on the internet to greet those loved ones people were missing, and finished off with some more shopping. As the day progressed, eyes were slowly drooping and attention jumping from subject to subject, giggles abounded as did full-on hearty laughter, and finally, following bhat and dhal, sleep; long restful sleep. It brings back memories of nine months ago, when I arrived in Bangladesh, when everything was wild and crazy, I didn't know where to go, and I couldn't keep my eyes open. I am excited to see what this month has to offer, what new things we will see and do, and how it changes each of us.