Friday, January 21, 2005

new years eve.. dhaka style..

there should be a law against traveling between countries that have drastically different weather patterns. how does one's body, really truly adjust from 70 degrees to 5? it shouldn't be humanly possible. i should be dead right now.

but i'm not. i am in fact living amidst the bitter cold that will always be chicago. and this having been my fourth day back at work makes me no less disgusted to be here.

but i shall bore you not with my effortless whining over the weather and my job. instead i'll continue with stories and tidbits of my trip. i'm in the mood for storytelling, you see.. because the actual work i should be doing does absolutely nothing to excite my nerve endings.

how about i tell you all about my adventures on new years eve? ok, well a dear friend of mine who used to live in chicago and recently moved back to bangladesh, invited me to join him and his gurl and their friends for nye celebrations at the american club in dhaka. this was his pitch: "look, you'll be able to have american beer, american food, and hang out with american people".. to which i stared at him blankly for a good.. 12 minutes. now, why would i go all the way to bangladesh only to surround myself with all things american? at any rate, i knew where he was coming from.. he misses america. he misses american beer. i could've possibly related had i been in dhaka for oh, about a YEAR! but two weeks into my trip i wanted nothing to do with american anything. i wanted to be surrounded by all things deshi. because i am, after all deshigrrrl. [where's my cape?!]

i did, however, oblige because he's a dear friend of mine and i wanted to spend time with him, not to mention he took the liberty of already buying me the $25 ticket before i even agreed to go. so after about two hours of bad ravioli, stale miller lites and a horrible cover band that drew old white people onto the dance floor, i'd had enough. at promptly 11:30pm i bluntly informed him that i was leaving to go to another party at a turkish restaurant called topkapi. i had another group of friends meeting me there and i wanted to get there before the countdown.

i arrived at topkapi at 11:45pm and managed to run into my friends who were just arriving at the party around the same time. we drank and danced and mingled for a while until we realized that it was already past midnight and there was no sign of a countdown! how absolutely anti-climactic! nonetheless we continued with the festivities until about 12:30 when all of a sudden there appeared to be a little chaotic something going on towards the entrance of the restaurant. i'll spare you by making a long story short, but basically there was a scuffle involving some photographers who were outside of the gate and trying to get into the party. apparently there were some of dhaka's elite youngsters in attendance (i.e. the spawn.. err i mean son of a minister of parliament) and therefore a big deal was made over something or another and suddenly the music was turned off and a procession of police officers started crashing the party. i hate to be so vague, but frankly i really couldn't tell you what exactly happened to cause all the commotion. all i know is that soon after the scuffle, the police were raiding the party. keep in mind folks, as you wonder why the party was being raided, that bengalis (muslims) aren't allowed to have alcohol. that doesn't stop us, mind you..

so the madness continued for a while. not only was the music turned off, but the doors to the restaurant were closed and we were all asked to patiently wait for the chaos to die down before we could leave.

from my claustrophobic point of view, i was livid. i mean, we claustrophobes are always looking for a way out. so when homeboy (the owner) comes along to say we can't leave, my claustrophobic ass is ready to panic. but i managed to calm down and distracted myself with food and random run-ins with old friends, and before we knew it an hour and half passed when homeboy finally came back to say it was okay for us to leave.

so as we all made a bee-line towards the exit doors, i looked around and noticed that every single woman leaving the party had a head scarf or shawl or something with which they covered their faces. turns out the photographers were still outside the gates taking pictures of poeple coming out. now, i wasn't in a position to cover myself because you know, i was all dapper in my ann taylor suit.. but i'd be damned if i was the only dumb ass bengali woman who's picture got flashed on the front page of the local dailies! so i grabbed the free end of my friend's shawl and proceeded to cover my face too as we exited the party. and for a split second there i felt like a good little muslim girl (surely i jest).

the rest of the evening was smooth sailing as i continued on to the heritage restaurant at about 2:30am where things were much calmer, and several of my friends were already there turning the party out. even the folks who were at the american club ended up there later on. they all took turns chiding me for going to topkapi because it was a "kiddie party", and we all know that at the ripe old age of 31 i am no longer allowed to go to kiddie parties.

lesson learned.

i stumbled home to my sister's pad at around 5am. aside from the drama, it was a great night. i danced to prince, drank scotch and coke (which i rarely ever do), admired all the beautiful bengali sisters who all seemed to be entirely off limits from my lesbian point of view, and caught up with great friends from back in the day. what was most refreshing of all is that there i was, out and about on december 31st/january 1st and for once in a long, long, long ass time, i WASN'T FREEZING MY ASS OFF!

see? it all comes back to the weather. full circle.