Week Nine

The view from our hotel pool in Bangkok

My time in Bangladesh is beginning to wind down. This week, in addition to working on finishing my report, I also assisted with a few tasks related to our quarterly report. The quarterly report, due at the end of the month, summarizes our (Bangladesh Counter-Trafficking-In-Persons "BCTIP") project's goals and accomplishments for this quarter, and details plans for the next quarter.

My coworker Rezwana has been very helpful with my projects, from answering my questions to helping me find the right people to talk to. Additionally, she takes time to help me learn Bangla and to teach me all about Bangladesh; one of her favorite things has been to introduce me to new foods. Though I thought I had tried all of the different fruits Bangladesh had to offer, Rezwana introduced me to TWO new fruits this week. The first one was a sapodilla. The sapodilla looks a little like a kiwi from the outside. However, once you peel the skin, you can see it has separated pieces like an orange or grapefruit, but the texture is grainy like a pear. I liken the flavor to a date or something similar; it is very sweet, and it would be difficult to eat more than one of them at a time. SapodillaThe other fruit was an amra or a hog plum. On the plate, the amra looked similar to guava; however, in my opinion, it tasted better. Rezwana had placed a small pile of salt on the plate for us to dab the slices into, so we dabbed a little salt onto the pieces and snacked away.

Since this was one of my final weeks in Asia, my friend Dolly (who is spending her summer internship in Cambodia) and I decided to meet in Bangkok, Thailand for the weekend. Because Dolly's workweek is Monday-Friday and mine is Sunday-Thursday, I took Sunday off so we would have more time to spend together. During my thirty-minute ride from the airport to my hotel, my Grab (like an Uber) driver and I had a great conversation. Though his English was somewhat broken, he helped teach me a few words and phrases in Thai (which I used all weekend) and provided me information on certain places I should go see while in Bangkok. However, instead of doing a site-seeing trip, Dolly and I decided to make this trip more about relaxation; so, when I arrived at my hotel on Thursday evening, I decided to relax in my room for the evening and ordered delivery for dinner.

Spa in BangkokDolly was not set to arrive until Friday evening, so that morning I relaxed at the pool soaking in the sun. In the afternoon, I located an adorable spa within walking distance to my hotel and scheduled a few services. The spa was small but had multiple floors, each designated for different services. The first floor was a hair salon, the second had chairs for manicures and pedicures, the third had spaces for traditional Thai massages and stretching, and the fourth housed the massage room. After a few hours of pampering, I walked back to the hotel and waited for Dolly's arrival.

When Dolly arrived, we caught up and ate dinner at a fusion restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. The owner took her time to talk to us about the different options and made suggestions for what we may like; the food was terrific! Afterwards, we walked to a rooftop bar. We sat and absorbed the view of all the colorful lights against the night sky while listening to excellent live music and swapping stories and experiences from our summer so far.

We decided to spend the next day at the pool, and we enjoyed reading, catching some sun, and swimming; we even ended up ordering lunch to the pool. In the evening, we again visited the fusion restaurant (there was just so much more that we wanted to try!) and then we ventured off to the night market. View from the rooftop restaurant and bar.Travel to the night market required either an expensive taxi ride or a quick and inexpensive ride in the subway. This would be my first official subway ride ever. Thankfully, Dolly, who is a master of the process, helped lead us where we needed to go and determine what we needed to do, and we arrived at the night market a short time later.

Walking from the subway and toward the night market, I could tell we were getting closer because the crowds grew thicker and the streets more congested. The night market felt a little bit like a cross between a fair and a flea market. With lights and sounds from every direction and people everywhere you look, it is almost sensory overload. The night market houses hundreds of booths where individuals sell products from clothes, jewelry, accessories, toys, health and beauty products, and so much more. Additionally, many vendors sell a variety of street food and restaurants and bars at which to take a break. We spent a few hours weaving our way through the crowd, checking out each vendor, and completing our shopping lists. By the time we left, we were both exhausted from the heat and the excitement of the market. Night Market

After the market, we decided to visit another rooftop restaurant and bar to take in the night views of the city from another angle. Finally, we began our walk back to the hotel, stopping briefly to grab an ice cream from a 7-Eleven. Since we had to head to the airport around noon the next day, we eased into the morning, packed our bags, and located a cafe for lunch. We enjoyed some sweet treats at the cafe and then said "see you later" to each other, heading to different airports to head home.

While in line at the airport, I met an incredibly sweet Bangladeshi woman who chatted with me about my trip to Bangladesh. She was very curious about what I had been learning about their laws and legal system and was very passionate about seeing a positive change in her country. Once I landed in Dhaka, I enjoyed two more conversations with Bangladeshi nationals, one while in line at immigration, and another while waiting for my Uber. These conversations were yet another reminder of the openness and kindness of the Bangladeshi people, something for which I will forever remain grateful for and remember.View from another rooftop restaurant and bar

I found out this week that I will be attending an event where I will wear a saree, so next week I will go shopping for shoes and a blouse to wear with my saree!

As always, to see more pictures from this week or the rest of my trip, click here.