Michael P


friday shave and broken CNGs
October 3, 2008, 7:17 pm
Filed under: culture, food, teaching | Tags: , , ,

Lately my students have been hinting telling me that i should shave. I’ve had a beard for most of the last year and half. Somewhere on the journey over here my beard trimmer attatchment broke so that it could only take off the beard completely. I got a shave when i first got to bangladesh but i had let it grow ever since. After a month my students started telling me “Sir, you should shave. You look no good.” then they would make a shaving motion with their hand across their face. I got a bad rap in malaysia for having a beard and i was told that i looked like i was apart of Hamas. So, today i decided to give in. I went down to the barber shop a few blocks away. After the shave (which wasn’t very good at all) they asked if i wanted a massage. usually its included with the shave. they massage your head and face. it felt prety good last time but this guy didn’t really have the touch. It was more like him scratching my head and pulling my hair out for 15 minutes. Eventually i told him i’d had enough and i asked him how much. he said 250, i can’t bargain in Bangla and i knew it was way too much. It should have been more like 90 taka and i could tell the guy hesitated when he named his price. I gave it to him anyways and walked out. I just bought shaving cream and a razor (for all of 210 taka!) that i’ll use instead of having my hair pulled from now on.

Later on i needed to get to church. I found a cng driving through my neighborhood and he said (motioned) he’s give me a ride and use the meter. I never ever get to use the meter when taking taxis or cngs here. They always name a ridiculously high price and i haggle them down like 50 taka. But it was too good to be true. Not only did the guy not know where he was going, but the cng broke down on the freeway. He tried cleaning the spark plug, but no luck. so i got out and walked on the side of the freeway until i found a taxi that would take me to where i wanted to go.

Because of the cng problem i was 20 minutes late to church. It wasn’t a big deal though. Afterwards i meet a woman that works for Wycliffe that is a “language guru.” I told her about my teaching situation and she more or less told me that i was doing it all wrong. because i’m not here for that long i shouldn’t be focusing on teaching grammar. I should be focusing on having the students memorize things. In america, students hate memorizing things. They always want to know why something works a certain way and they don’t just take in information to regurgitate it. But this seems to be the style of teaching in the east. She said that students would be more willing and learn better if they just memorized english sentences and words and didn’t focus on why a verb has a certain ending or why the word order is this way. So what she suggested i do is start making recordings of lessons that students can listen to with english and the bangla transtlation. this way, there wouldn’t be any guess work. So i just need to figure out how to get listening devices (tape or mp3 players) and find a blangla/english speaker to help me.

On a different note, because ramadan is no more, the street food of bangladesh has come out of hiding. As you have probably noticed i really enjoy eating new types of food, taking pictures of it, and explaining to you guys what its like. Now i have tons of new food that i need to try. All over the place guys have little 3 wheeled bike carts with various types of snacks and little roadside stands have opened up that sell various things. I haven’t gotten to try any lately, but i’m looking forward to it.

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