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.
I live in Cusco, Peru and will be posting mostly about my trips around Peru and South America. From August 2012 to June 2014 I lived in Dhaka, Bangladesh and blogged about living there and traveling around Southeast Asia. This blog also contains my stories from living in Istanbul, two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, and some other travels. ... full info
Pumpkins!When we arrived at the market we had to skirt around the piles of pumpkins to get to anything.
Veggie LoversEverything at this market is sold in bulk. Most vendors won't sell anything less than five kilos.
ChichingaAlso called snake gourd, these can grow up to 2 meters long. They look like English cucumbers but have to be cooked and taste like a mild zucchini.
Bitter GourdThe bumpy cucumber-like vegetable is the very aptly named bitter gourd. They're very good in spicy curries, especially with the hot green peppers sold with them.
KakrulFrom a distance you might mistake kakrul for limes, until you notice that they have spikes. Also called teasle gourd, they have a mild flavor a bit like a zucchini and very flavorful seeds. They taste like pumpkin seeds but are embedded like watermelon seeds and impossible to take out. They add an extra flavorful crunch.
Hot ChilisWalking through the area with chilis my eyes and nose burned. Dozens of machines were grinding these full bags of peppers into powder.
TurmuricIn the spice area of the market were bags of spices, some to be sold whole and others awaiting the griders.
SpicesMost of these were imported spices, cloves from Zanzibar, black pepper from Vietnam, nutmeg from Malaysia and more.
People's MarketThis area of the market is where people buy food for themselves, as opposed to the bulk area that only sells to restaurants and shops.
On the FringeOutside the market area were people selling what little they had.
Fresh Coconut MilkGreen coconuts are refreshing and we got quite a crowd when we stopped for a drink. Crowds gather here in the blink of an eye so we had kept moving through the market but now needed to pause for a break, no matter how many people stopped to stare at the foreigners.
Growing PainsDhaka is growing so fast that new shops and apartments just add their power lines to the existing ones.
Hindu StreetAs with all big cities, Dhaka has distinct neighborhoods, like the Hindu neighborhood Shakhari Bazar. It's the place to go for incense and Shakha, the bangle bracelets made from conch shells.
It's the Simple ThingsThis woman was so talkative and friendly when I stopped for water that I really wished that I understood Bangla.
Behind the ScenesJust off the lively action of the main street are the alleys where people live and work.
Sonargaon - the Golden CityLeaving Dhaka we drove 29 kilometers, which took two hours, to Sonargaon, the ancient capital of the Bengal Empire. It's pronounced Shonargun and is as quiet as Dhaka is loud. It was the eastern capital of Bengal for most of the empire's history.
In With the OldSonargaon has been mostly abandoned, but the name still means a lot here. It was the Hindu capital before the Muslim generals began arriving in the 13th century and took most of the political power.
Crumbling CapitalSonargaon is still strategically located near the confluence of the Meghna and Jamuna (Brahmaputra) rivers but it's abandonment began in the 17th century and it doesn't look to me like glory will be restored here any time soon.
Back to NatureThe incessant heat and humidity of Bangladesh can make anything grow. Sonargaon will be fields again soon enough.
The End of MonsoonThe rains are slowing, but as we left Sonargaon and drove through the countryside we saw that most of the fields are still lakes.