Saturday, April 16, 2011

Return to Dhaka

Written on Qatar Air Flight#344 from Doha

Dennis and I had been married for just a few weeks when we landed in Dhaka with our film crew in November 1998. Like I am now, we were working on a global health story, and we planned to spend a couple weeks in Bangladesh and then travel to South Africa for more filming and our honeymoon.

As we made our way to rural villages and documented women walking for days to reach health clinics, our driver played a constant high-speed game of chicken with the brightly decorated buses and trucks that filled the narrow streets. The sense of doom was so great, that every day we were still alive, I began to feel more invincible than ever—-refusing at times to even wear a seat-belt.

While we focused on filming, everyone else was paying attention to the nation’s favorite pastime: cricket. A big tournament was underway—and all eyes were on Jacque Kallis, the pride of the South African team who was admired here even while routing the Bengali players. White, handsome, tall and talented, Jacque’s picture appeared each morning in The Daily Star newspaper.

Enter Dennis—college football and lacrosse player at Harvard. White, handsome, tall and talented—and walking through Dhaka with a camera crew in tow. It wasn’t long before shouts of "Jacque! Jacque! " followed us as spell-bound fans shook our hands, snapped photos and asked for autographs (Dennis was more than happy to oblige, and there were many restaurant napkins left featuring the misspelling Jack Calis).

After two weeks of filming, we were on our way to Cape Town. And so were all the smartly dressed South African cricket players. As we weaved our way through the sea of dark blue blazers, green-striped ties and tan slacks at baggage claim, there he was--Jacque Kallis: Dennis’ blonde-haired doppelganger. Now it was our turn to snap photos and ask for an autograph. To this day we ask ourselves, What are the chances?

This magical trip went on to include sunbathing with penguins, the world’s highest bungee jump and appendicitis… but that’s another story…

Stay tuned for this trip's adventures with the two Beths - Beth Balaban and I are traveling together for a new branded film.

No comments: