Monday, August 15, 2011

The Flood! The geckos! The spiders! The Iftar!

The past one week has been raining nonstop and as a result the streets of Dhaka have been severely flooded. The rickshaws seem to be swimming in the radically congested traffic and the cars actually have snorkels on them. Yup, snorkels! Every day on the way back from work, you can see thousands of people walking barefeet knee-deep in the brackish water. One day the lake next door overflowed and spread over the main road of the diplomatic area. And then, magically, the rain stopped and within a day all the water went somewhere. The air dried up a bit and the temperatures temporarily dropped to a decent 85F/23C.
Sadly, as of today, the heat has made a triumphant return. Drat.

The geckos have become really comfortable in our apartment. One of them is particularly friendly and resides mainly in Son's room to his utter delight. Tonight, the gecko decided to hang out in the bathtub just in time for Son's bath, which resulted in exalted screaming, misguided attempts to touch his back and one lost tail. Sadly, last night we also discovered that our apartment was the comfy abode of a freakishly large spider of the tarantula variety. We had the misfortune to literally stumble upon it as we were coming back around 10.30 pm. As I haplessly entered the apartment, the Diplomat who was walking behind me started shouting there was a massive spider behind me. Hysterically, I ran into the office, climbed on a chair and kept on yelping maniacally from there. Until I actually saw it--it was indeed massive, almost like a mutant spider from a really bad sci fi movie. The Diplomat killed it rather inelegantly by slamming it a few times with his best shoe which happened to be nearby. Given that Fat Cat had peed on it a couple of days ago, you can say that this shoe had gone through quite a lot lately. The spider was finally dead and the Diplomat tossed out unceremoniously.

Speaking of Fat Cat, we recently underwent a decidedly unsuccessful (and quite smelly) experiment to potty-train Fat Cat. You must have seen those ads on TV--using a silly looking contraption with a widening hole over the toilet to teach your cat to pee in there. And flush. Yeah, right. Fat Cat tolerated the seat initially and even humored us and peed in it a couple of times. And then he got fed up and peed (and some other things) not just anywhere but in a hamper of brand new clean clothes. He was scolded, locked out of all the rooms and left only with the office bathroom and the corridor. At which point he peacefully peed on above-mentioned best/most expensive shoes of Diplomat. At that point, we had had enough. Plus, our UAB arrived from the US and with it, his toilet. The experiment was over.

Dhaka is growing on me. I finally got used to the heat and the traffic. It finally hit me what is so different about traffic congestion here--after all, I come from NYC and we can tell you a thing or two about THAT. The difference is the massive amount of people in the streets, whether by foot or in a rickshaw. The sheer size of humanity in the (middle of the ) streets is what makes Dhaka so unique. And maddening. I have chosen to ride rickshaws recently simply because sitting in a van stuck in one place in traffic for 20 mins is starting to get to me. Rickshaw drivers are some sort of magicians and at times it almost feels like they are riding on the walls of the buildings. I am almost tempted to buy one for myself rather than wait for our car, which is currently on a ship from Japan. But that is a WHOLE other story.


  1. the spider must be really scary, i will do the same thing too. Just a friendly advice, please do not kill a spider when a Muslim is around because they have a religious belief in the spider. There is a story when Prophet Muhammed hide inside a cave and then a spider weave a web in the cave opening and closed it, so the people who are running after the prophet didnt enter the cave because they thought no one is inside because the web is intact, thus the Prophet escaped and was save. Have a good day! :-)

  2. OMG...that spider would have killed me right there. I would have done the exact same thing you did. As for Fat Cat, I'm sure you tried, but REALLY?!? I'm surprised you'd try to potty train the cat. Poor Dip's shoe. Has he gotten a new pair yet? Hope Son is doing well. Give him a squeeze for me.