Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Arriving in Sylhet

I'm sorry I had to cut the last post short, electricity here, though redily available most places (so far) sometimes cuts out unexpectedly. I will finish the last post by saying that we got into Dhaka with no problems at all and were met at the airport by a friendly driver from our hotel. We found our hotel to be very nice, tried to stay awake long enough to eat a small dinner and soon after went to bed. Because we were both very jetlagged, my mom and I woke up pretty early and had enough time to check our email and pack up our things before going into Dhaka to aquire some appropriate clothes.

Appropriate clothes for women are clothes that do not show the womanly shape, i.e. shirts that are long enough to cover the bottom and a scarf to further abscure the top. Outfits that are specially designed to work like this are called Salwar Kameezes (it is spelled all sorts of ways) and it was these that we were in search of. Our driver took us out to find a store that sells them, but it was too early and none of them were open. To my excitement, we had to go to a market. The market was humming with activity, smelly, crowded, and amazing. It was a maze of alleyways lined with stalls selling everything from buttons to sheep. There were several selling scarves and salwar kameezes, and with the help of our wonderful driver and an older lady that appeared from and disappeared into nowhere, aquired two beautiful outfits and a couple of scarves. I adored all of the scarves and was hard-pressed to choose.

After that, we headed back to the airport, but to the domestic gates this time. After some hiccups, we finally got on a plane to Sylhet a couple hours behind schedule. One of the reasons for the delay was that it was raining very hard in Sylhet.

The airplane ride was not long, but it was very bumpy, causing the passengers behind us to forcefully grab our seats every so often. The collective gasps when we dipped also added to the dramatic feel. We were, however, served more snacks on that 35 minute flight than I have ever been served on any flight before. The best part was the mango juice box.

My first impression from the air of Sylhet was that it was the wettest land I had ever seen. Fields were lakes and lakes were fields and roads were rivers and rivers were roads. I wondered if to land we would just sink into a wet field.

We had a smooth landing on a solid-- if flooded--runway, and were handed umbrellas at the door to our plane to splash our way to the airport. We got our luggage quickly and after making our way through the thronged door, were met by a smiling Dr. Rashed, the Projahnmo Project Coordinator. He took us to the office where we met staff, had a tour, and ate lunch. Everyone was very kind and welcoming, and I accepted the offer to stay in a room on the second floor. After a brief introduction to everyone, my mother and I were driven to a hotel for the night. We both wanted to sleep badly, but had to try and stay awake to help our bodies get used to this time-zone. I mostly watched bad TV while she worked and after a small dinner, we thankfully fell asleep.

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