Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our baby is doing just fine...

No not Catherine...and no, not the unborn baby, but our FIRST baby, MOLSON! After a nail biting few days last week, we are happy to report he is doing great in the Near North! He caught a British Airways flight last week that left at 8:45AM-he was required to be at the airport at 4AM! I was with him as Dave was away for work. I walked him and spent some quality time with him in those early morning hours while we waited. The airport personnel then had me get him in his crate at 5:30AM. He did not come out until he landed in London at 9:30PM Dhaka time! He was walked, fed, given water and then spent the night at the pet facility at Heathrow. I spoke to their staff several times that night. They all assured me he was fine.
He caught a noon flight the next day to Toronto, that was delayed by over an hour! He waited to be seen by the Canadian vet and then upon exiting his crate for the last time, he proceeded to go to the bathroom right in front of the customs agents! That is what they get for making him wait, I guess. He was picked up Coach and Allie and whisked away to Chez A5 downtown. We got to see him on Skype that night and really threw him off when we whistled through the microphone--he was running around the room looking for us!
He overnighted in Toronto and then made the last leg of his long journey laying on the front seat of the truck with his nose hanging over the seat. He sat up the ENTIRE way down the Mine Road and according to Coach, knew exactly where he was. I hope at this point, he started to forgive us for putting him through the long trip. He got out of the car at Boatline Bay and went right into the water. It would have been the first time he has been swimming since August 2007 in Virginia. He is acclimating well and enjoying the 52 degree Fahrenheit weather on the lake!
All Dave and I could say after seeing these and other photos from Coach was, WE REALLY WISH WE WERE THERE TOO.

A random work-related photo

Here is a photo taken at a recent work retreat. USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and their implementing partners participated and I attended. I am really enjoying my short term consultancy with USAID Bangladesh. Will look for some photos of Catherine to post this week-end. Sorry to be so slow getting the blog updated! More coming...

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Dhaka Triathlon Club

Some of you may know, but Dave and I have started a triathlon club here in Dhaka, called aptly "The Dhaka Triathlon Club" or DTC. We have hosted several races and also host a weekly long run. We have really enjoyed introducing people to running and multi-sport racing! We have had a great response to our races and other events especially from newcomers who are running their first 5K, 10K and competing in their first duathlon! Of course, the weather and other conditions make running and biking outside very difficult in Dhaka. But, getting to exercise outside and off the treadmill and bike trainer is still appealing and dealing with these elements with others makes it all the more enjoyable! Here is an exerpt from the last race we organized. Please check out all of our DTC activities on our "other blog" at:

The Dhaka Triathlon Club hosted is first ever duathlon on Friday, May 16th. The du was pitched as a ‘training event’ rather than a race, to ensure everyone’s safety and in an attempt to attract some first timers to the excitement of multi-sport racing. The event was a huge success! Despite the intense heat and humidity, there were no casualties on the bike or the run and most impressively, about half of all participants had never competed in a duathlon before!

Race registration ran smoothly with the help of two AMAZING volunteers, Leigh Robertson and Melinda Hennessey. They ensured that each athlete signed the race waiver, paid their entry fee (200 TKA) and had their bike and helmet checked before getting body marked. The DTC was lucky to have an expert on hand (Thanks, Peter!) to carry out the bike check and helmet check and several participants commented that it was great that he was able to help them fine tune some trouble spots with their bikes and helmets.

Melinda and Leigh also managed to get every single split of every athlete during the race; including run in, bike out, and finish time. They awarded prizes to the top finishers in each category; individual males, individual females, men’s relay and women’s relay.

Participants had family members at the finish line cheering them (and others) on and there was plenty of water and even some goldfish crackers to snack on post-race. It was a great event enjoyed by everyone! The DTC would like to thank the athletes and their families, with a special thanks to the Smith family for handing out water at the finish line! Huge thanks goes to all of the volunteers that made the event run so smoothly! Thanks again, Leigh, Melinda, Peter and LBH!
Complete results can be seen below.

The DTC hopes to co-host a triathlon next month with the International School of Dhaka. Stay tuned to the website for details on the date and further details.

The DTC continues their Saturday Long Runs (SLR) every Saturday starting at 6:30AM from the American Club. Please join us!

Check out the DTC at:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Last photos from Bhutan...

On the way back from having pizza for lunch on our last day in Thimphu, we stopped by the vegetable and fruit market to get some bananas and apples for Catherine. The photo above shows the contrast between the traditional and modern outfits that men wear in Bhutan. While more modern/Western clothes are seen in the capital, you see most Bhutanese wearing the traditional outfits.
A mosaic of colors of the fruits and vegetables at the side street vendor.This is one of my favorite pictures of Catherine and Robin. We spent a lot of time walking around Thimphu, the capital, and having Catherine in the sling was one of the easiest and fastest ways to travel. As you can tell from Catherine wearing the jacket with hood up, the weather was cool and humidity low. The mountain fresh air and picturesque scenery make Bhutan a heavenly place to visit.

More photos from Bhutan trip

Photos taken in Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan and over an hour drive from where we flew in-the town of Paro. The architecture seems a cross between Swiss chalet and China? It was cool, which was a relief from the heat in Dhaka! Dave stares down the bull in our hotel back in Paro.

Bhutan trip part I

Dave had the opportunity to travel to the Kingdom of Bhutan for work and Catherine and I took advantage of him getting this work visa and decided to join him. Travelling to the country of Bhutan is no easy feat and not because it is far away either-the flight is direct from Dhaka and only 45 minutes long! In Bhutan’s aim to maintain its traditional values and keep the backpackers to a minimum (unlike Nepal) it requires each and every tourist visitor (i.e. not official visitors-like us!) to secure visas only through a Bhutanese tour agency which require $200 USD per person per day for the duration of the visit! Well, you can imagine that this really does wonders to keep the riff-raff out!

Here are some photos from our flight into Bhutan. More photos to come of our time there. The top two photos are of the airport and the bottom photo was taken from the airplane. The pilot claims this was Mt. Everest in the distance! Many people have told us that it can't be Mt. Everest-but we will believe the pilot (at least for know).

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Bangladeshi New Year (April 14)

Catherine had a special program at her pre-school to celebrate the Bangla New Year. The custom is to wear bright red and white, which of course she did. Here she is in her very first Sari! She also participated in her very first fashion show. After the singing by the children and teachers, there was lots of fun activities for the kids like face painting and T-shirt making as well as traditional Bangladeshi food and arts and crafts for sale.

Some photos of the little munchkin!

Sorry it has been so long since you have heard from us! We have been busy with work and traveling (photos and details about Bhutan in another post coming soon!). Here are just random shots to let you know we are all doing well. Photo of Catherine on our nanny's (Mina) back. They were headed up to the roof to gather up the clothes from the line. Since most people live in apartments here and have washing machines but no dryers, most roof tops for miles around are filled with drying clothes. Catherine still loves her sling, but enjoys riding on the back now. Photo of Dave reaching under the table was taken after supper one night. Catherine did not want her hands washed off! She eventually got stuck under the stools and finally freed herself! What a hoot. Last photo is at dinner one night. Catherine wanted ALL of us to wear bibs (which we did-adults not pictured here for obvious reasons) but I did snap a cute one of she and Molson. More photos and blogs to come very SOON. Stay tuned and sorry about the lag...