Sunday, June 14, 2009

Best Mexican...?

I started meeting some other foreigners (my name for myself has changed since coming to BD- in Qatar I was a 'Westerner' and in BD I'm a 'foreigner'- as there are also Japanese here!) in the hotel- essentially all interns with the Grameen family in some way. Many are with Grameen Bank, although I've met a few with Grameen Trust. Most are undergraduates, mainly American, but there are folks from Japan, France, Canada and Great Britain. There are some grad students- law, policy, social studies. I have no idea how many interns Grameen brings in or when (mainly summer? year-round? unknown) but they seem to be in the lobby each time I'm there. Funny- I've never actually seen another intern at the office building. And I haven't met any other interns other than Atsu at GC.

Last night eight (8=৮ or আট 'aat' in Bengali) of us headed up to the 'posh' Gulshan District of Dhaka to have Mexican food. Yep- Mexican food in Dhaka, at 'El Toro'- the only place in Dhaka and apparently the best in Indian subcontinent. It was a 200 taka ($2.90) no-AC 30-40 minute taxi ride. The distance is only about 5 km- that shows you how crazy traffic can be. The place was dark with mainly table candles for lighting, with Native Americans (Navajo and Lakota...?) pictures and sombreros on the walls. Drinks were 'mocktails' (like Qatar) but they let you spike your own drink if you'd like (good knowledge for next time!) My mocktail of lime, tonic and lemon was refreshing. Chips and salsa weren't free (and there were exactly 16 chips to a basket) but they were decent. My Dos Amigos Enchiladas (one chicken, one beef) came with what they called a 'cream-cheese' sauce and rice/beans were extra. The refried beans were close enough, the rice had a faint sweet taste to it (cinnamon?) and the enchiladas were somewhat dry and microwave tasting/looking.  And the Fried Ice Cream wasn't available. Total- 535 taka ($7.60)- an expensive meal in Dhaka. Add another 100 taka ($1.45) for the taxis and we're talking a little pricey- especially compared to the 20 taka ($.29) for lunch at Grameen Cafeteria. (But still cheap compared to the Westin Hotel- an alcoholic drink would be 800 taka ($11.59) but still cheap compared to Doha...)

Would I go back to El Toro? Sure- if others are going. Otherwise, I'll wait for my Mexican from the family favorite- Las Palmas- when I get back to the States.

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