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September 6th 2013
Published: September 6th 2013
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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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 22



When we arrived at the market we had to skirt around the piles of pumpkins to get to anything.
Veggie LoversVeggie Lovers
Veggie Lovers

Everything at this market is sold in bulk. Most vendors won't sell anything less than five kilos.

Also 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 GourdBitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd

The 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.

From 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 ChilisHot Chilis
Hot Chilis

Walking through the area with chilis my eyes and nose burned. Dozens of machines were grinding these full bags of peppers into powder.

In the spice area of the market were bags of spices, some to be sold whole and others awaiting the griders.

Most of these were imported spices, cloves from Zanzibar, black pepper from Vietnam, nutmeg from Malaysia and more.
Quid Pro QuoQuid Pro Quo
Quid Pro Quo

When people take pictures of me I reciprocate.
People's MarketPeople's Market
People's Market

This 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 FringeOn the Fringe
On the Fringe

Outside the market area were people selling what little they had.
Fresh Coconut MilkFresh Coconut Milk
Fresh Coconut Milk

Green 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 PainsGrowing Pains
Growing Pains

Dhaka is growing so fast that new shops and apartments just add their power lines to the existing ones.
Hindu StreetHindu Street
Hindu Street

As 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 ThingsIt's the Simple Things
It's the Simple Things

This woman was so talkative and friendly when I stopped for water that I really wished that I understood Bangla.
Behind the ScenesBehind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes

Just off the lively action of the main street are the alleys where people live and work.
Sonargaon - the Golden CitySonargaon - the Golden City
Sonargaon - the Golden City

Leaving 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 OldIn With the Old
In With the Old

Sonargaon 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 CapitalCrumbling Capital
Crumbling Capital

Sonargaon 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 NatureBack to Nature
Back to Nature

The incessant heat and humidity of Bangladesh can make anything grow. Sonargaon will be fields again soon enough.
The End of MonsoonThe End of Monsoon
The End of Monsoon

The rains are slowing, but as we left Sonargaon and drove through the countryside we saw that most of the fields are still lakes.

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