Blogs from Bangladesh, Asia - page 6


Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka May 14th 2013

Since my last blog there have been 2 more hartals so I haven't been able to do much, but I did have quite an amazing day yesterday. I actually had the opportunity to venture into a typical Bangladesh village with one of the faculty members at the University. He was nice enough to offer to take us students and some of the volunteers on a walk through of a village where he resided while studying nursing. On the surface it looks much different than the neighbourhood I am staying in. It is comprised primarily of very poor individuals as opposed to the middle class population that surrounds me now. Despite us foreigners exploring their home, the village people were very welcoming and invited us to have a rare glimpse of their daily lives. Their homes were ... read more
Children's School Transport
Rickshaw Art
Village Children

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka May 10th 2013

It's only been a few days, but I know many of you are wondering if I made it okay and how things are going so far... After the longest journey of my life, I finally made it! There was a hartel (general strike) the day I arrived, so pretty much everything was shut down. Thankfully the airport still continues to operate during hartels, and rickshaws are still cycling people to and from. A hartel is usually organized by a political party to allow the people of Bangladesh who are in favour of their views to demand change over certain laws and government operations. Lately, there have been many as an election is quickly approaching. As some of you are aware, there have been recent hartels that resulted in violent activity. I know that worries you, but ... read more
Helen and I

Asia » Bangladesh » Sylhet » Srimongol April 23rd 2013

The last entry seemed a tad dreary and self-pitying, and certainly didn't do Bangladesh justice, so I thought I'd augment the blog with some of the numerous crazy and fascinating experiences I've managed to cram into a chaotic two weeks of endless bus delays, tribal festivities and hardcore backpacking that came to an end yesterday. I write now from Kolkata after taking an earlier-than-anticipated bus back over the border for fear of getting caught up in the huge hartel (strike) that's kicking off now. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I crossed the border - it was a stressful 48 hours, attempting to outrun the all-encompassing wave of strikes - but I can also treasure many unique memories from the plains to the hill tracts of Bangladesh. I devoted a large chunk of my ... read more

Asia » Bangladesh » Cox's Bazar » Coxs Bazar April 19th 2013

I've been in Bangladesh only nine days, but there is just so much to write. It's felt like a long continuation of my visa application struggle - a hectic, frustrating, nonsensical but eventually incredibly rewarding roller coaster ride. I'm currently writing from Cox's Bazar, the longest natural beach in the world, but on this blog entry I want to go back to the start of my time in Bangladesh to describe my initial impressions of this unique corner of the subcontinent and perhaps Asia's best kept secret. Quite inevitably, my first journey in Bangladesh - that from the border with India, into Dhaka - went rather badly. The strikes (hartels) that so often rock the country have been increasing in frequency recently due to the upcoming elections. Rival parties tend to throw their weight around by ... read more

Asia » Bangladesh » Bogra » Mahasthangarh March 30th 2013

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

Asia » Bangladesh » Bagerhat February 15th 2013

The streets of Dhaka old town make Indian cities seem serene. It is electric, charged, and if you’re not alert you may well be, by a rickshaw. In a city of maybe twenty million, over 600,000 of the inhabitants work peddle rickshaws; they are everywhere, often in great interflowing streams, but more frequently static as tangled metallic chains. Delhi – with its multitude of motor rickshaws, motorbikes and cars - is now apparently more polluted than Beijing. Poor Dhaka (alas not pollution-free) has its rickshaw culture to thank on two counts: peddle power is as green as it gets, whilst they account for an awful lot of employment. They are also quite beautiful with hand painted panels and embroidered canopies. If they were Dhaka’s only endearing feature we’d like it very much, but its jewel are ... read more
Hindu bride, Dat's niece
Dhaka rickshaw

Asia » Bangladesh » Dhaka December 15th 2012

This is mostly a photo blog, since Dhaka still has me tongue-tied. I’ve lived here now for four months and I know my way around a very limited area of the city. It’s a massive city, but much harder to get around than anywhere I’ve ever lived, including Istanbul. I really miss the public transportation in Istanbul. That city was difficult to get around because it was so geographically huge, and divided by the Bosphorus. Dhaka is divided by “lakes” which are the remnants of the swamps that were here before the city was built. They fill up during the rainy seasons, look thick and scummy during the dry seasons, and are always a scary shade of green. They have fish that I don’t think anybody would eat, no matter how hungry they were. Dhaka has ... read more
School Vans
Downtown Gulshan

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