So part of being a whitey in a country like Bangladesh, is that you always get stared at when out in public! It doesn’t matter where you go, you will turn some heads. Lately I’ve been in some pretty crowded places and if this is anything close to what fame feels like- it ain’t pretty! Now, it is very common for Bangladeshi people to actually stop what they’re doing to just turn and stare as you walk by, but if you dare to stop for any length of time, you will actually draw a crowd. It’s humorous but can also become quite frustrating when you actually need to move or… pick your nose, for example!
A day out in Dhaka brings many spectators- no matter where you go! If you are on foot, you will draw the most attention because 1) you’re crazy to walk around in such heat when clearly you could afford some mode of transportation and 2) beggars can catch up with you when you’ve got no wheels! People will whip out mobile phones and cameras to take pictures of you and you just have to laugh. It can feel a bit like you’re an animal at the zoo, but I prefer to think of it as if they’re watching me on television! The stares I’ve received are varied. There are: big smiles and waves, greetings in English, inappropriate noises and heckling made by men since you’re not totally covered as proper Muslim women should be, and finally puzzled spectators who seem to be in a state of shock at your presence. You never know what type you’re going to get, but you can always bet that the people WILL stare. I am hoping eventually I will just get used to it. In the meantime, I am trying to just keep a good sense of humor about the whole thing and understand the view from where they’re standing!