Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bangladesh Embassy Open House

This past weekend the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, D.C. had an open house for people to come and visit and learn more about Bangladesh. We arrived at about noon and found a line of people waiting to get in. We quickly made our way to the theatre in the Embassy to see a performance of Bangladeshi song and dance.

We learned that in the two hours prior to our arrival, almost a thousand people had arrived! The songs were beautifully sung by a group of five women, and dances were performed by two local cultural organizations: Dhrupod and the D.C. branch of Jago Art Center, a Dhaka cultural organization.

The songs and dances were beautiful and well performed, and received much applause from the predominantly American audience. I took photographs, but, unfortunately, I only had my BlackBerry to take photos with and the quality is not very good. I am trying to clean them up and, if I can make any worth viewing, I will post them later.

In addition to the songs and dances, the Embassy had prepared a taste of Bangladeshi cuisine for people to sample, and a table where women could get mehndi on their hands. This was very popular, and for the next few weeks, Washington, D.C. will be full of American women wearing mehndi. There were also a video tour, and exhibits of art and Bangladeshi export items. One of the export items on display was a box of Ispahani tea. This is, let me assure you, my fellow Americans, the best tea. You have to seek out a Bangladesh import store to find it, but it's worth the hunt.

Here's an old TV advert for Ispahani. Don't worry about the translation. All you need to know is, this tea rules.

The Bangladesh Embassy's open house was a smashing success, and special thanks and congratulations to Ambassador H.E. M. Humayun Kabir for putting together such a great introduction to Bangladesh. I think most people arrived at the open house not really knowing very much about Bangladesh, but they left having had a glimpse of the beauty of a really great nation and culture.

Let's hope the success of this event leads the embassy to hold more cultural programs to help build stronger ties between our two countries.

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