Saturday, 11 February 2012

being tourist....

old dhaka, dhaka, 29th jan 2012
i am on a tourist tour. i guess so. even so it is work for me.

i am traveling around with a rickshaw driver who does rickshaw tours for tourists. that's unique. totally.

i tried to find a english speaking rickshaw driver for an afternoon, actually for 2 hours, but after that i felt so embarrassed, disrespectful, asking random rickshaw drivers in the worst bangla ever if they could speak english. they looked at me, laughed. i hope they did not take it as offensive.

adnan introduced me to him. he knew him, from a friend, english speaking, who got to know him.

abdur rahim is his name. he learned english by listening to people when he worked around the hotel area. he listened to them while driving around, picked up first just a few words, like street, place. then a few more, and then started to speak.

now he speaks fluent english, knows all the places which are tourist worthwhile, knows also all the places which are not tourist worthwhile but tourists still wanna go. he knows a lot about cameras, where the battery pack is, what different lenses mean. a lot of photographers are coming with him. asking him to stay with him. i am still wondering how many amazing photographers he was cycling around without knowing how famous and untouchable they are for the rest of the world.

he is old. looks far away from the 50s, 60s. he talks all the time, being on the bike. sometimes he scream, articulates, always tries to be funny. he learned his children english. to enable them a better life.

his son was working, not anymore. abdur still takes care of his whole family.

cemetry, old dhaka, dhaka, 29th jan 2012
illiteracy in bangladesh. 49 percent apparently.

a man, a rich man told me a story. his servant can't read, he can't write, but he can text messages. one time he asked him' how can you type? you cannot read or write?'
'Sir' he answered ' i learn. i know some bangla words. and sometimes if i see english and bangal words on the street i compare and then i search for the letters on the mobile phone and then i type?'
' so you don't know what s stands for?'
'what is s?'
'a letter. you don't know?
'so how do you know how to write street?'
'i remember the way i have to press the buttons'
the man wonders, is amazed.
' and why do you do that'
' i don't wanna be left behind'

mobile phones are one of the cheapest things to buy in bangladesh, even cheaper than food. almost everybody in bangladesh has a mobile phone.

christian cemetry, old dhaka, dhaka, 29th jan 2012

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