"you need to blog more prolifically man"

ok then.

got my mandatory 8 hours sleep between stupid hours.

needed a phone for the ganjside trip

so my gps is finally working... now all i need to do is figure out what the 'India-Bangladesh' datum corresponts to. Datums are approximations of the earths geometry.... yeah the world is round, but theire are different 'standards' for shape that are considered better fits for various hunks of Gods good Earth. Needless to say the default was some random WGS-84 thing ...USA -centric... bless.

Waypoint 1 - phone SIM shop oin kolabagan where i got my Grameen phone sim from....
Waypoint 2 - Bashundara City shopping complex where a bulletproof and rather prehistoric nokia beast was procured. Bashundhara City is like the biggeset mall in the universe, a monument to the market.... the manic's 'Motorcyle Emptiness came to mind'

Culture sucks down words
Itemise loathing and feed yourself smiles
Organise your safe tribal war
Hurt maim kill and enslave the ghetto

Each day living out a lie
Life sold cheaply forever, ever, ever

Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness

Life lies a slow suicide
Orthodox dreams and symbolic myths
From feudal serf to spender
This wonderful world of purchase power

Just like lungs sucking on air
Survivals natural as sorrow, sorrow, sorrow

Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness

All we want from you are the kicks youve given us
All we want from you are the kicks youve given us
All we want from you are the kicks youve given us
All we want from you are the kicks youve given us

Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness

Drive away and its the same
Everywhere death row, everyones a victim
Your joys are counterfeit
This happiness corrupt political shit

Living life like a comatose
Ego loaded and swallow, swallow, swallow

Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
Under neon loneliness motorcycle emptiness
Under neon loneliness everlasting nothingness

then i promptly forgot about it....

Picked up this rather amazing weekly news publication called 'the probe' i remember someone telling me about it in london. Its startlingluy mature and explores a lot of routes im interested in. Big up to them!

exploting geography i stop off ar dhaka university, specifically the department of geography and environment. It is a magnificent campus. met a bhai that id got to know last year. we started talking like a bunch of old codgers... about the dhaka uni students being more interested in flirting and dating than their work.

what to do?...

prayed asr (late) in the uni masjid, met a bro there from jagganath college, the site of a recent confrontation between student wings. physics student wahey! he knew where my nanis gram was.

dun dun dun

i eventually find a rikshawallah up for taking me home... get hopelessly stuck in traffic and dismount upon seeing a kabab shop.

so this random man sits on my table, he's ordering takeout. we get chatting. he is a local working in the Housing sector, very widely travelled, alumni of dhaka uni's Zooology department. He likes my thesis topic.

smug fug.

Magrib adhan goes off, and im drawn towards kataban mosqujid (known as a publishing hub for religious texts and thoughts) . walk passed polystyrene sculpturer (500tk for something semi 3-D and massive, ready the next day provided you give him a design).

Then the pet shops which didnt smell as much as the uk ones.

And into the mosque, theres a curiously named "Centre for the preaching of the quran by post " downstairs. Cute.

wander towards the first row, nice qiraat, no 'big deal' manajat. Have an awkward time leaving though, trying to avoid interrupting peoples prayer beams.

books shops, islamic ones all around.

so i feast.

not too much in english, but pick up a book of the Muslims of Nepal by a sis who wen there to do her MA back in the day, an old publication by the Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought and a translation of Shayk Qaradawi's 'economic security in Islam'.

get home in time for a quick cooling shower (ok, too much detail), madly rushed kurta-pyjama iron and dash to a wedding.

not that i know the groom, he was a relly of a journo mate. Interesting venue and crowd many of hwho m were very goreously dressed and not male. Half the Deshi Cabinet was there. Wanted to invade the Water Resources Ministers space and squeeze his brain, but was too polite/cowardly. He is a good guy, many say, one of a few. My bhaiya attributes this to him being a sportsman.

its true here i think. last year, my feild assistant was an ex-footy player tragically taken out of the game by dodgy ligaments. really broad minded and noble character.

get home late, well fed and well met.

and we are off in midnight dhanmondi with some gdangs and ma blue guitar and the truth.

RAB drive past.


no title really...more of a brain dump vibe.

Jumma today was FAB, went to an old Eidgah Masjid, it felt like a significant gathering. Outside there were (expensive) fish sellers. typical. in London there would be the odd dawah stall or functionless doss in place.

Friday prayers happen in different forms, for example the entire top floor of a shopping arcade becomes a mosque type area, bit cramped but cute.

The foreign minister had some strong words for Palestine and Lebanon, reflecting what everyone is feeling here. More that words....please.....I read them in a rather interesting paper, the story around which is even more intriguing. Its owner is a little ummahtic righty in political inclination, while his bro is the leader of the manju faction of the Jatiya Party!

In desh theres a few English papers: the Daily Star (sellout but some kind of benchmark, thinks its a little lefty but it talks to itself, its paymastersthe donors and its made up civil society chums, NewAge (interesting things to say now and again, not so partisan as the Daily star. but still without spirit) and the New Nation, which is published by the Ittefaq group. Today the New Nation published a rather large statement from the OIC, a random Dfid statement and a noholds barred yvonne Ridley piece as op-eds. Editorials and wotnots were decent.

While the New Nation published the foriegn ministers own words, the New Age included coverage of a loony lefty party condemnation of the government for allegedly not saying anything against The Occupation's most recent infliction of barbarism in Arabia.

'Dialogue of the deaf' is the most immediate phrase that comes to mind.

People here are losing sleep over the pain of Lebanon, this is evident from reciprocal and loud Ameens in du'a and conversations even with people. Whats refreshing is that people speak without proverbial condoms here, no consideration of self censorship that is so marked in the uk. Simple and enescapably true.

Politics in this country is like a football league where not of the teams really makes me tick. Though im clearly going to want to repel the most obnoxious posse.

Quite miffed at the news from London that have kidnapped another bro on a US whim. May his family and self be strong and the affected communities not dispirited, but emboldened.

In the UK theres a silly non reciprocal extradition situation with respect to the US. They can procure our people, whilst their (un)fortunate citizens are free to basically piss all over the world. In its selfish programme to step on everyones throats, the US administration violates soveriegnty on a number of scales. As well as ripping apart the glorious peoples of Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. It arranges for the abduction of individuals from their homes.

A week or so ago, a Bangladeshi in Bangladesh was kidnapped for them by the brits. I use the word kidnap, because thats what it feels like, looks like and reads like.

I would like for Bangladesh to expel its UK high commissioner as a gesture of disgust at the UK support of the Occupation and its spinelessness with regard to protect its citizens from harm. Im sure Anwar bhai wouldnt really mind. But thats not really going to happen now is it?

I think that the 'development dollar drip' and the 'play it safe' have too many people stoned to think straight. Folks aren't too confident in that respect, but they are moving and expecting more from education, which is where the smarter takas are in bangladesh. Theres a debilitating perception amongst a lot of quite well off people that they are poor and powerless regarding this scale of feck up. they keep thinking on the nationscale. must do something about that....

Heres an interesting legal position.

hmm what else. oh. I am sick of the word stakeholder and the patronising use of the word 'womenfolk' in developmenty reports im reading.

My neice is very cute and very well humoured, she becomes more and more adorable the more i look at her. What on earth in her 8 month old head is so much fun! i wish someone would let me in on the joke. I think she might like Led Zeppelin.

oh and deshi aador showers! i am only just recovering from them.

Zidane is the man! That must've hurt.

Im really looking forward to the next few laps of life.

Dhaka at night is beautiful and serene.

Katchi biryani rules.

Photoshop is tooo flippin slow.

Internet is sooo slow.

Fuskas rock.

Weather is quite nice.

Need to sort out that 'waking up' business one of these days.


This is Ganj Control to Uncle Tom

took some control, and made a decision. it paid off.

and so here i am, sleeping in khalus old room, spending my days and nights wandering around dhaka. A ca moment, im relearning the urban geography, a lot has changed in a year, building work, prices, greater policial stakes, and more interesting ummahtic bookshops.

have been lucky to have bumped into all manner of funky inspiring types in the last few days since i landed.

work is stuttering, one day i think ive got all the data i need to select specific field villages and send a massive map to the printers.... and the other minute i realise that ENVI is not goin to read ERDAS Imagine files.... and dodjy windows 95/98/2000 software that still believes in those autoexec.bat files is really getting on my nerves. there you go, some technical mumbo jumbo to show that im not JUST dossing.

Dhaka is beautiful, especially at night, well to my eyes at least. When theres a strike and the roads are emptier, theres a kinda wild serenity here.

I should really post some pictures, figuring how to again is the main problem.

random obs..

-cows can produce serious weights of milk. Imagine carrying around full to bursting udders. eurgh.
-folks in the ganj area just west of me over the river can sell their produce quite easily and directly to the posh folk of dhanmondhi at a much better price without going to markets.
-lost of people here have studies river erosion related issues at some point or another.
-dhaka uni and buet grads rock.
-if ever your suitcase breaks in two places on the way down the stairs of your house, just get to the airport, you'll find a better bag solution there.
-many deshis are not accustomed to returning the randomly thrown salams of me.
-the letters pages of the newspapers are the most interesting parts.
-leaving home without moderate amounts of taka-age can be frustrating.
-dont let street book hawkers bearing tomes of arundhati roy clamber into your motor rickshaw.
-to remember the right names of your cousins sprogs and the months of peoples deaths.
-thunder means internet connection goes off.

Enough soap box rubbish, im fine , im eating properly and have not been kidnapped yet, in fact i feel much safer and free-er here than in london.