Archive for September, 2009

You’re using your left hand?! Oh, right, mirrors.

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Well, after our trip to Malaysia and a busy few days back in Chittagong since, I have about a hundred things to write about and somewhere well above a thousand photos to select from and post, but for the moment the easiest subject is my new Bengali haircut! I didn’t like my odds with the local barbers so I decided to employ Catie instead, and she did a great job! It also provided a great opportunity to make a stop-motion video with my camera.

Off to Malaysia!

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Just a quick note to say that Catie and I are leaving for a 9 day vacation to Malaysia! (She has most of next week off from work for Eid.) We’re flying into Kuala Lumpur (and possibly spending some time there) and then making our way for most of the week to Tioman Island off the southeast coast. I can’t wait for our trip to start which is good because we need to leave for the Chittagong airport in about 8 hours! Yikes, we should really pack. Be prepared for many posts filled with photos of gorgeous beaches and tropical jungles upon my return! We’ll be back in Bangladesh on September 26.

On a different roof

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

The reason Catie and I walked to Panchlaish was so that we could have a “picnic” Iftar dinner (which we bought on the street along the way). The roof of Panchlaish is really nice and the building is right next to the jungle (as far as I can tell) so you can hang out up there until it gets dark and then watch for bats overhead. Dinner was delicious – I really hope I can get another chicken roll even after Ramadan is over – and I had a great time hanging out up there, taking photos, and watching people on the street below. We did see a number of large bats but I was too distracted trying to take pictures of some people working on a car at night, so my bat-capturing efforts were somewhat halfhearted. We’ll have to go back and try again sometime soon.

Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)

Photos taken in Chittagong, Bangladesh on September 15, 2009.

And it wasn’t even that scary

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Success! Catie and I took an early evening walk from the main AUW campus to Panchlaish (where the faculty and a number of staff live) and I brought my camera along for its first real journey on the streets of Chittagong. I’m glad I had Catie watching my back this first time, but in all honesty I don’t really know why I was so nervous. I think it just boiled down to the fact that I’m not comfortable being the center of attention in the first place, which I invariably am as a tall (strike 1) blonde (strike 2) white (big strike 3) man, and when I hold a large camera I certainly draw even more attention than usual (no matter what country I’m in). Plus, when I look through a camera I feel somewhat exposed because I can’t really pay attention to anything else at the same time. So I knew that combination would result in a situation where I felt vulnerable in an already uncomfortable setting, and that made me reluctant to bring my camera down and walk that (literal) road. I don’t think I was ever physically nervous about the idea though, like I was going to get harassed or mugged or anything – it was really just a social and personal apprehension. In any case, I know that the more I do it, the more comfortable I’ll feel. I’m leagues more confident now even just after one short walk outside, and I think over the next few weeks I’ll get to a point where I can be out photographing on my own without a second thought. Maybe I’ll even start to venture further than our block (or, triangle, if you want to get technical).

Of course, since I am that tall blonde white male with a large camera, I did draw a great deal of attention. We especially had a lot of people around us on this one street where Catie says there are always a lot of beggar children. Some of the children and women were indeed begging, but some of the kids were actually just making a camera motion in front of their face, asking for a picture. I obliged, and Catie and I also gave a couple of the more persistent kids a samosa from an Iftar stand that we stopped at across the road.

Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)

Photos taken in Chittagong, Bangladesh on September 15, 2009.

Edging my way to the streets of Chittagong

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Well, I’m getting closer… Slowly I inch my camera towards the actual streets of Chittagong. I hung out for a little while sitting in the driveway of AUW where Catie works. Turns out there was plenty to shoot right there! I was actually a little disappointed when Catie came down from work ready to leave. To my left were the men working on the building next-door. To my right were other men standing and talking on their cell phones with rickshaws zooming across M.M. Ali road in the background. Right in front of me was an eager young security guard who wanted me to take a photo of him doing his favorite thing to pass the time (playing an imaginary pen-flute), and promptly afterwards another of him (and his friend) giving an official salute. And finally, above were two of Catie’s coworkers yelling down to me from the roof.

Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)
Chittagong, Bangladesh (Sep 15, 2009)

Photos taken in Chittagong, Bangladesh on September 15, 2009.