Blogs from Bangladesh, Asia

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Asia » Bangladesh » Sylhet » Srimongol March 14th 2014

We had breakfast at 8.30 with fresh pineapple and a cup of tea. Our means of transportation for the day was a pickup truck, and we rode in the back like the locals, wind in our hair, sun on our face. We had no doubt our families back home would disapprove if they knew, but it felt incredibly liberating. And as long as the pickup doesn’t crash, it really isn’t a safety issue… We started out with a trek through a national forest that hosted a certain species of Gibbon monkeys, snakes, spiders, and wild boar. I was excited for some close encounters with half a zoo, though Rikke was not at all okay with the prospect of running into snakes. After an hour of walking with careful and as inaudible steps as possible on a ... read more
Forest trek
Ape!
Tea workers

Asia » Bangladesh » Sylhet » Srimongol March 13th 2014

Since Monday was a holiday, we decided to take Sunday off and leave for an extended weekend trip to Srimongol from Thursday after work to Monday evening. Srimongol is a city in the tea producing Sylhet region, northeast of Dhaka. I was excited about the prospect of drinking lots of tea, but also more generally to be out of Dhaka and experience something new. We were picked up after work in a minivan, which started out by scraping its side against a parking column when it left the embassy. Not very comforting when you’ve read hundreds of horror stories in guide books about driving at night. But we managed to get to Srimongol in one piece, despite a few near-death experiences once it got dark. The busses down here act like the bulky playground bully, pushing ... read more

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka » Dhaka February 24th 2014

Let me start off with a quick lesson on Bangladesh. There are six seasons in Bangladesh (summer, monsoon, autumn, late autumn, winter and spring), and the best times of the year are winter and spring. When we came in January, it was winter and the temperature was about 20-25 degrees during the day and 15-20 degrees at night – though the nights for some reason felt much colder. The winter season is when Bangladesh is most nice. It’s when people can enjoy the sun without dying of a heatstroke and wear clothes that don’t become drenched in sweat within minutes. Winter is therefore also the season when most Bangladeshis get married, hence the nickname the wedding season. I must admit, I found the mornings and evenings to be a little too chilly compared to my expectations ... read more
Colorful shelves
Showing off a sari
Tailor giving orders

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka » Dhaka February 23rd 2014

I guess there are going to be a few updates on the blog the next couple of days since I’m home sick today after an allergic reaction to some kind of insect. My legs and thighs are very itchy, very irritated, and I have a hard time concentrating on anything but “don’t scratch!” But I’ll see if I can manage to compose some kind of text on the past week’s activities, not an easy task considering the amount of things we’ve experienced! A quick note to add in this post is the picture at the bottom, which shows how Denmark has managed to sneak into my daily life even if I’m halfway across the world. There is also a picture of my legs from yesterday when I thought they were really bad, which was nothing, it ... read more
Yesterday
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Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka » Dhaka February 14th 2014

So much is going on down here; it is hard to find the time to write it all down. But this time, I wanted to give you all an idea of what “our” area looks like. Keep in mind, Gulshan is a fancy area, host to expats and rich Bangladeshis that want to mingle with the upper crust. Knowing that, Gulshan doesn’t strike me as a place of abundance (beggars roam the bigger streets and many of the houses look shabby), but I guess it will once I’ve been to Old Dhaka where the slums are. Last weekend when the boys were on their bike ride and Rikke was occupied with work, I went on a walk. It was really nice to just go for a walk with no specific destination or goal in mind – ... read more
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Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka February 13th 2014

The streets of Dhaka change dramatically between 7am and 4pm. By 6 o’clock in the evening many streets are at a bumper to bumper standstill. Gone are the street sweepers and the construction workers brushing their teeth on the side of the road. Although it can take less than ten minutes to drive to work in the morning, there have been days when it took over an hour to drive home. I can usually walk in half an hour or less. On more than one occasion I have actually left the car stuck in traffic (with the driver at the wheel) and walked home. Driving on the main roads in the evenings, it feels like our average speed is two inches per minute. Most days it only takes about 20 minutes to get home, because we ... read more
Grazing by Work
Recycling
Construction

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka » Dhaka February 7th 2014

Our first "real" weekend after a "real" week of work, and a really long one at that – I think we were all in the need of a few days outside of the office. The thing is, the sun goes down about an hour after we get off work, which means Rikke and I have to race against time to make it to the rooftop to soak up some sun before it sets. And even half an hour of overtime at the office is enough to steal away the only sunshine of the day. We were therefore excited to have two full days of sun and relaxation. On Friday (which is the equivalent of Saturday), the boys went on a bike ride with a local guy from the office. I say ‘guy’ but it turns out ... read more
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Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka » Dhaka February 3rd 2014

It’s been a busy first week in Dhaka! It’s dark outside and I’m half sitting, half lying on the couch with a blanket around my lower body and the laptop in my lap to keep warm. It might be 27 degrees outside but the apartment is as cold as a fall night in Denmark. Unfortunately, there were only three duvets in the apartment when we moved in (and a fridge that was fully stocked with expired food), so I have slept with two blankets and still felt like a Popsicle all night. The apartment could get a chapter on its own; the Internet malfunctioned on the day we moved in, the maid doesn’t seem to have cleaned in the last six months, and small cockroaches make an appearance from time to time in the kitchen. But ... read more
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Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka February 2nd 2014

Commutes are the most mundane part of our lives, and yet in each country I live in I find them fascinating. Traveling in other countries I ask people not what they do, but how they get to work. Many people tell me that they live nearby and walk to work, or even better, that they live upstairs from their shop and just have to walk downstairs in the morning. An easier commute, yet worse option in my opinion, is to sleep at work and not have another home. Living in the US, I invariably drove my own car to work, often eating lunch at my desk. In Morocco I walked to work, walked home every day for lunch and walked back again in the afternoons. I enjoyed walking home in the evenings until somebody tried to ... read more
Bus Stop
It's Not Morning Yet
School Transport

Asia » Bangladesh December 19th 2013

It seems many of my most memorable travel experiences have been slightly spontaneous visits to countries tacked on to the beginning of a trip while I wait for someone to arrive. Such as; Armenia before the Georgia and Turkey trip, Andorra before France, and Hong Kong before the Philippines. Bangladesh was another such trip, just a prefix before India, though it turned out to be a (the?) highlight of the whole three months. Post master’s degree I wanted to escape as soon as possible. I really wanted a rest and I wanted to travel after being confined to Birmingham all year (apart from the sneaky week in Greece). It was decided that this master’s may lead to a permanent full-time job, rather than the contract work I’d been doing for a few years, thus immediately post-master’s ... read more
Dhaka
Sreemangal
Ranger Station, the Sundarbans




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