Bangladesh was one of the family’s least favorite posts. I don’t know what happened there, many expats loved it. One of the things I didn’t like was that women were not welcome in the open market. Decent women stayed at home, sending their husbands or houseboys out to shop. If a woman was in the market she was considered trashy or worse and subjected to pinches and “accidental” slow brushes up against her body.
I tried to rebel against this restriction by taking my very mean driver to the market with me. At the first attempt of sexual intimidation by some market dacoit, my driver made it clear (he actually slapped the thug to the ground) that this type of behavior was unacceptable and I wasn’t touched again. But the market was completely ruined for me after this incident and I didn’t return.
Bangladesh is a strict, Moslem country with no pork or alcohol served in restaurants. For this reason, many foreigners belong to clubs; American club, Australian club, International club, British High Commission club, etc. We belonged to 4 different clubs but our favorite was the British High Commission. It was the first time we had a close up and personal look at the British people and we thought they were some of the funniest and fun to be with people in the world! I loved their pub quizzes and the fact that they always chose me for their teams to answer the American questions which was such a joke, because I never knew the answers :) Still, as a matter of form….
At work or formal diplomatic receptions, our cousins can seem reserved or even cold. But don’t be put off by this work persona, it’s just that the British have a refined sense of ceremony and propriety. Most of the diplomats at the High Commissions have OBEs or some other initials after their names, so when at work they are probably asking themselves, “What would the Queen do?” Outside of work, they are just like everybody else!
We were always invited to the Burn’s Night and St. Andrew’s Balls which were wonderful affairs with pipers flown in from Scotland, along with the haagis and Scotch whiskey. There were 2 bottles of whiskey on every table, men in kilts, stockings and very chic jackets and country dancing, whether you knew the steps or not! No, Bangladesh was not our favorite country but we certainly met some of our favorite people there.
Anyway. I didn’t like the food in Bangladesh except for the shingara, which is potatoes fried in dough and the bhaji or vegetable omelette. They used a bizarre flavored, small, green hot pepper in most of their cuisine that I never liked. When eating out, we would go to Indian, Thai, Korean, Japanese or Chinese restaurants but never to Bangladeshi.
This morning, for some reason thinking of a bhaji omelette, I poured the spicy Moroccan lentils http://cookinginsens.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/spicy-moroccan-lamb-burger/ over hard boiled eggs and tomatoes for breakfast. I wonder if Roger will want to know?