Heather Jasper


Heather Jasper

I am currently living in Dhaka, Bangladesh and will be blogging about living here and traveling in the region. This blog also contains my stories from living in Istanbul, two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, and some other summer travels.

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

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 » Malaysia » Sabah January 5th 2014

Considering that ten years ago Borneo was the only place in the world on my list of places I never wanted to go, I was surprised to find myself back there for a second visit. Spending New Year's Day there put me in Borneo in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Lesson learned: anything is possible. What brought me back was the promise of friends to travel with. So, for the second time, I ignored the dire warnings in the book Shooting the Boh and flew to the Malaysian state of Sabah, on the island of Borneo. This vacation was very different from last year’s trip. I had more than twice as much time and was traveling with friends from Boise. I didn’t take as many pictures and didn’t once make time to write in my ... read more
Kudat to Kota Kinabalu
Tripping Hazard

Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu Valley October 18th 2013

During my Eid holidays from work in Bangladesh I flew up to Nepal for a week with my friend Catherine's family. She married into a Nepalese family almost ten years ago and has been encouraging me to go visit them ever since. Even though she couldn't get away from work this year, her husband Santosh came from London for the festival of Dashian, also known as Durga Puja. I was so fortunate to have Santosh’s family take such good care of me all week. I arrived from Bangladesh with the end of a terrible cold and lingering cough. They prepared endless cups of tea for me, sometimes using ginger from their garden to calm the cough. I stayed in a beautiful room with big windows on three sides, looking out onto the hills up the valley. ... read more
Coming Home
Local Transportation

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka September 6th 2013

This is my second year living in Dhaka and I have certainly settled into a routine here, but the city still surprises me. I have learned not to take anything for granted. I was away for two months this summer, but now after a couple weeks of getting back into life and work here, I went out on a little trip around the city. Some of these photos are of markets in Dhaka, some are of rivers and areas near the city. All of them were taken in one day. We started at 8am and I didn't get home until 8 that night. It was quite a day.... read more
Veggie Lovers
Bitter Gourd

South America » Peru August 5th 2013

Peru is a vast and diverse country, so with only two weeks I had to severely cut back on the list of places I wanted to go. Machu Picchu was obviously a high priority, as were the ruins of the Sacred Valley near Cusco. I decided to focus only on a small area of the south, which I was dismayed to find out is actually called the Gringo Trail. Welcome back to the Americas. Trying not to read about any of the amazing places in the north, I started to narrow down the list. After reading about vicuñas in a travel magazine I had to find a way to see one in the wild. My hometown of Boise, Idaho is home to the World Center for Birds of Prey; so spotting endangered condors was also an ... read more
San Blas
Freeze Drying

South America » Peru » Cusco » Salkantay Trail August 1st 2013

One can hardly go to Perú without visiting Machu Picchu and I decided to start my trip out with the cherry on top. Dessert first, right? The traditional Inca Trail is a four day trek, which most people book months in advance, because the trail is restricted to five hundred people a day. That still sounds like a crowd to me and I wasn’t excited about being on such a populated trail. With that in mind, my first day in Cusco I visited several different guiding service offices and most of them had a four or five day trip over the pass of Mt. Salkantay. It goes up to a higher elevation than the traditional Inca Trail, but only about a hundred people a day go over the Salkantay pass. This seemed better to me. The ... read more
Mt. Salkantay
The Pass of Salkantay
The Pass of Salkantay

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka March 16th 2013

Bangladesh is choc-full of charities and NGOs. It’s a volunteer’s paradise because there is an endless number of organizations that need help. This weekend I visited the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP), which is a very well-known organization in Bangladesh. Hospitals and clinics all around the country refer people to CRP for services, which are usually provided for free. Few people can afford health care here, and fewer have any form of health insurance. If you break your back in Bangladesh, CRP may be your only hope. Every year they host an Open Day, welcoming in neighbors and thanking sponsors. I was invited to attend as part of a group, which has worked with CRP inpatient children for years, helping them with physical rehabilitation in a swimming pool. We were greeted warmly by ... read more
The Centre for for Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed
Wheelchair Basketball
Wheelchair Workshop

Asia » Bangladesh » Sylhet February 25th 2013

To check out another part of Bangladesh, I went bird watching with a couple colleagues on the northern border near India, in a wetlands area named Tanguar Haor. Before I moved to Bangladesh I had heard that it was the best place for bird watching in Asia. The whole country is a river delta. The Bradt guide says "If you're supremely adventurous or a keen birdwatcher (perhaps both), Sunamganj is where you'll want to head." It also mentions that it takes four days on a boat to do the round trip from Sunamganj to Tanguar Haor, staying on the boat at night and waking up surrounded by birds in the wetlands. A haor is a large depression in the earth, which creates a wetlands area. Water trickles in from nearby rivers and rains fill the depressions. ... read more
Farming the Dry Season
Living on the River

Asia » Bangladesh » Bandarban February 17th 2013

This weekend was all about the journey: we spent more time getting places than being there, but that’s what you get for trying to do everything in just a weekend. It was my first trip in the south of Bangladesh and I am lucky to have friends who don’t mind going so far with so little time. We started out at the train station in Dhaka, across from the airport, and took a direct train to Chittagong. It wasn’t fast, but at least we didn’t have to stop on the way. Once there a friend’s father picked us up and we got a plush car ride through downtown Chittagong by night. It was a fast five minute tour, but I think we saw most of it. There was the train station, the new cricket stadium, the ... read more
By train or by boat
Permission for Foreigners
Open Your Shoes

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