Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesday, July 10th

So Ramadan officially starts tomorrow. We got a text today from the office head, Alamgir, that the office will officially be open from 9am to 3:30pm for Ramadan. I’m not sure how closely the non-Muslims (like the PCs and PAs aka my bosses) follow this schedule, but I guess I will see tomorrow. I will not complain if I we end work at 3:30pm. Although, honestly, there isn’t too much to do with all of the extra free time. But still.

Only 6 of us in the office will be eating office lunch now, so we had to figure that out today with the woman that cooks. It’s crazy everyone else will be fasting all day every day for an entire month. I can’t even imagine. We are going to try and fast one day and then go out somewhere delicious for Iftar. I suggested we do it on a weekend day so that we can lay low and not be expected to use our brains. It’s sort of cheating considering everyone else continues on with their lives (the poor rickshaw wallahs!) but still. Also we are going to cheat and drink water, because it is just way too hot here to not drink water all day! I can’t believe people do it. I feel like everyone will be fainting left and right.

Anyway, this morning we got locked into our apartment. Prabhat woke up early to go on a run and used the key to lock us in. We have two sets of keys so normally this wouldn’t be a problem and we could just unlock the door from the inside with the key (it’s an old school dead bolt that you have to lock/unlock with the key from the inside or out). Well, we couldn’t find the key. So the cleaning woman came and was knocking and knocking and Kishan tried to get out the phrase book to explain what was going on and we were calling down for the building supervisor and he didn’t really understand so kept calling back and meanwhile I was looking everywhere for the key and trying to get a hold of Prabhat and the whole thing was a scene. And all at 8am right after crawling out of bed and a very deep sleep. We ended up not being able to open the door, so the cleaning woman left. Once Prabhat came home we were free, but after a bunch of searching we still couldn’t find the other set, so we are getting a new set made tomorrow.

Today after work I went to the gym. I had no small bills so I couldn’t take a rickshaw home afterwards, which was a bummer. If you don’t have 10’s or 20’s and you take a rickshaw you end up way overpaying because they won’t give you change. They’re smart and pretend they don’t understand what you’re saying when you ask for change or they say they don’t have any smaller bills. Smart, but it’s annoying.

After the gym and dinner, Kishan and I went to meet Prabhat at the market to load up on some fruits and vegetables. I usually get the fruit and Prabhat gets the vegetables, because he knows all the names for them (they are the same as in Nepal) and he is a better bargainer. Fruit prices are more fixed, so I stick with those. But tonight we bought both. I usually beeline past the vegetable stands to the back where the fruit is. The vegetable stands are the most overwhelming, because they are big and very tall (the venders stand up above on stools, I guess) and are along the sides of a very narrow path through the market and everyone on both sides is always yelling out “Madame! Madame!” and so I usually just keep on going. Also, I don’t recognize half the vegetables.

Tonight was interesting though, because we went to Prabhat’s regular stand and they were showing us all of the options. They were smart and kept showing them to me and having me smell the different herbs, because I was so interested in everything and kept wanting to buy everything they showed me. They picked up on me as the consumer of the group quickly. Prabhat showed me and named a lot of new vegetables, and we picked up a new spinach-like green and some herbs I have never tried and another small green vegetable that looks like a mini cucumber that Prabhat is going to cook for us. We also bought baby corn. I never knew what baby corn even looked like. I had only seen it already shucked and prepared at salad bars or in stir-fry’s. From the outside it basically just looks like mini shucks of corn. I guess I should’ve expected that, but I was still surprised. Also, I love baby corn, so I was pretty excited (and therefore bought some). We had to finally say no after buying a bunch of greens, carrots, potatoes, onions, baby corn, those new green vegetables and a few new herbs. We definitely loaded up, partially due to my consumer attitude to all the new vegetables they kept showing us, but regardless. This HUGE bag and just a ton of vegetables for Tk320 ($4….). I have pretty much switched my price expectations and gotten used to using taka so am always surprised now when I do do the conversions.

Tonight we laid low. We bought a bootleg version of Scrabble from Lavender last week, so we opened that up and played a game. It was basically the same as Scrabble, just with some notably cheaper parts. Otherwise, not very much to report since my last update. We are going to book everything for Nepal tomorrow, so I am really excited about that! One of the PI’s on my project is coming this weekend. He’s a professor from Yale and is doing a trip to check up on all of his projects in India and Bangladesh. It will be very interesting to meet him and discuss the project. Also we will be having another (final!) meeting with WaterAid that he will come to on Monday so that will good. Then, we will be planning a trip to the field for next week, so I'm looking forward to that! I’ll keep you posted on the upcoming weekend. I think we are going to try and fast Friday—should be interesting. I can be a bit cranky some may say when I’m hungry, so I have already warned Prabhat and Kishan that I need to do a lot of laying and lounging and sleeping while we fast. I wouldn’t make a very good Muslim…

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