Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Today was full of firsts. I drove to school for the first time, road my bike for the first time and today was the first day of school! Lets tackle these in order.

Yesterday was the last day for our school supplied driver, which meant that I had to drive to school. Can I just say wow! Let me set the stage. You drive on the left hand side of the road from the right had side of the car (lame). There are no lines to separate the lanes... (seems fairly crucial). There is no such thing as driver training or a driver test... I think you are getting the picture of how chaotic it is here. To our car: it is a Toyota corolla of a late 90's vintage. Ignition switch is on the right side of the steering column???? Blinker is on the right... Again, why? Which means every time I try to signal I turn the windshield wipers on or off. Yeah, so the cards are stacked against me and we have not even started driving. At any one time, there are pedestrians (for some reason they do not use the sidewalks here) rickshaws and cars are all trying to own about three lanes (if there were lane lines). The local etiquette  works something like this: pedestrians have no rights, rickshaws are given inches of room, you drive in the middle (of the street not the middle of your lane) and swerve out of the way of oncoming traffic, and you have to honk at everything. Honk (and flash your lights) at oncoming cars, honk to let rickshaws know that you are about to overtake, honk because you are not moving and you want to, honk because... well I am not really sure of all the other reason but one hand is dedicated exclusively for horn honking. So we made it to work without any major mishaps but I have never felt so scared behind the wheel.

Biking was another fun one. Ramadan has begun here in bangladesh. This is where Muslims fast during the daylight hours for one month. So they wake up early and eat, fast all day and then hurry home for Iftar (the breaking of the fast) at around 6:45pm. This means that there are A LOT of hungry drivers that are not thinking clearly racing home to eat. And since they are all racing home the racing is more like stuck in traffic. On my bike I was able to make good time, about a 1/4 of the time it would take in a car. But there is my life to consider too... While I never felt in danger, I was not exactly at ease either.  But all-in-all not to bad.

And last the first day of school. We have block schedules here and so I only met with three classes today. I will say I really enjoy the middle school ages... so far. They have a lot of energy and they are down for anything. They have to do a 1 minute skit in front of the entire middle school and when I told them they were excited. Who gets excited about that? There are many students with great accents that sound too sophisticated for a kid their age. Fun for now, but ask me in a few months!


  1. This adventure is so awesome for all of you! Before you know it you will be driving just like them! How is Lola?

  2. WOW that driving scene sounds crazy! How far is it from your house to the school? When you have some time, I'm curious about the food there? What is it? How is it?

  3. Mom, I have a post on Lola and her new school planned but let's Skype soon. Kristen, ohhhh the food. I have a post on planned for our cook in which I'll talk food and I'll include some local fair.

  4. Sounds exciting! I like pictures, just sayin. Stay Safe!

  5. Fine, more pictures, I get it! More to come.