The Sundarbans 2: Yes we swim!

Day three afternoon

After we got back from our great walk through the forest we were hungry as a tiger. After the late breakfast we had some time to relax.

I think afterwards we went to the beach if I remember right. Swimming, finally. The walk was long to the Golf of Bengal and not that exiting, aber dennoch: Der Weg ist das Ziel.

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On the beach was already the other boat with round about 50 tourists who occupied the best beach, but we found a spot and went directly into the water! Too much hot but soooo good!

The great thing there was the mud, some started to do mudslides and at the end we were all covered with this black-brownish mud. Wonderful!

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and then we went on another silent boat trip. I know it sounds a bit strange that we did now 3 of them but it was fun. But also this time we only saw some moneys, mudskipper and a lizzard.

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The Sundarbans 1: In between tigers and clouds

5 days, 20 people, 1 boat and two smaller ones, 10 crew member, 2 guides, 1 armed force and sunshine:

Day one

Leaving Dhaka at 7 am with a bus to the river, cow market, lots of people watching…DSC06153

Going on-board, after everybody found their rooms, we had a short meeting about „safety“ and the tour schedule. About the safety issues is to say that there are all necessary safety things on board, the only thing we see are rescue rings, but lets believe them.

Cruising down south is relaxed. Fishers are watching us while we watch them. Some kids are winking, some don´t. Many rockets/ferries pass us and we are all happy with our decision to have a private boat!

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At night we sit on deck and sing, talk and welcome Magda´s birthday.

Day two

The night is shorter then expected, at 5:15 am the engine starts, for me horrible because I kind of sleep just above it. Beside that the cabin was very very warm, so I moved outside where the morning wind cooled me down and set me into sleep again.

Waking up finally at 8:30 am led me directly to breakfast. Roti, shobji, honey, egg and banana. Nice. After breakfast it all started like yesterday. Reading, sleeping, chatting. After lunch we did a short walk „through the forest“. It turned out that we walked around two ponds -anyway, going down from the boat after one and a half days was fine. We drove further into the Sundarbans and around five pm we reached our destination for a one hour boat trip. This was not really comfy but kind of nice. It felt a bit like meditation. Being quiet and waiting for the tiger to jump out of the forest, which none of them did. Of course. Only thing to hear was the clicking of the cameras and that was pretty annoying.

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By the time we shipped quietly the sky got darker and then the first lightnings appeared. One was just next to us and loud as hell! But just when we arrived at our big boat, it started to rain. Massive lightnings, great clouds. I tried to take some pictures, this is what I got:

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Lightning and no lightning. Allright.

Dinner. After deep fried potatos, tempera sobji, noodles with sauce and sweet curd for dessert we went on another silent boat trip. Noisy animals, mainly crickets, geckos. Also some weird fireflies or maybe lighted dragon flies sat in the trees and created a mystic atmosphere. Lovely.

Early bed.

Day three

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Today is the day. Do we see a tiger? Do we see something? Dragonflies were everywhere on the boat and accompanied us in silence. But this morning everybody woke up early. We were supposed to get the wake up call at 6am, but the engine woke everyone up at 5:30am. Coffee, Tee and biscuits helped a lot to get ready. First thing to do this morning was a walk through the dense mangrove forest. They said, we need good walking shoes, Sandals are not proper enough. So they provided everyone shoes if needed. Comfort and fashion are hopefully not too important 😉 But before we needed to walk through the first river I decided that no shoes is a good shoe as well!

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The forest was beautiful, the different mangrove trees create a cool landscape and some deer said hello, too.

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After two hours we were slightly sweated but happy that we survived 🙂

And yes, we saw a tiger…footprint….

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Paddy fields feat. Saris

Wohoo, it´s a long weekend! So after a long party on Thursday I have the strong will to leave Dhaka for the weekend: Tangail is my destination!

Friday 2pm at bus stop Mohakhali: who expected no traffic?! Even on the bus terminal there is traffic…it took us more then 30 min to get out of this place. But without crash…thanks for that! Then we can enjoy the road now 😉

Some hours later, yeah it´s only 80km away from Dhaka, we finally arrived in Tangail. The reserved guest house looked very nice but they didn´t wanted us to stay in one room. Oh, I forgot that I live in a Muslim country… So we needed to look for another one … and that was pretty difficult. Tangail is also known as a conference centre so the main hotels were booked out with conference participants. But after 2 litres of sweat and about 150 Taka for Rickshaws we found a nice, kind of ***** A/C room.

After relaxing for a while we met Manju, she is working with various organisations in Tangail. She recommended some things to see and do for us and invited us to her office as well.

The rest of the evening we spend with eating, drinking tea and listening to music.

 

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Dhaka reloaded

It´s been a nice time back home – June and July I spend back in Hamburg with my old and new friends, enjoying the summer!

In August it was time to head back to Bangladesh! This time I am working as a consultant for GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit or German Development Cooperation.

I nearly missed my flight in Hamburg because I was confused with the time in the morning. But I took all my power to run with my 29kg bagpack and two pieces of handluggage from the train to the checkin….that was just last minute!

Arriving early morning and Dhaka was welcoming me with the usual time-consuming immigration procedure and luggage collecting. But finally, after two and a half hours I was out and faced this view:

people waiting outside the terminal

On of the GIZ drivers picked me up and the drive home felt really strange. Maybe because I know everything. Maybe because it was just strange to return.

After putting all my food into the fridge I took the long wanted shower and took a nap. Then it was already time to go in the office for a first meeting.

After the meeting I knew that I will work at TARANGO´s office in Mirpur and not in the GIZ office. That´s not a really bad thing, but travelling is always time consuming here….but let´s see.

And now, today, after driving back and force everyday, it´s a bit annoying but also interesting to watch streetlife.

For you, I tried to do a small photo documentary of my daily ride:

for your orientation this is (I think) the way we usually drive…

Starting in Gulshan 2 we head to Gulshan 1 Circle and down to Moahkali

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then we turn right and drive over the train lanes

before the trainlines come we turned right

then we turn left just on the one end of the old airport

then we pass the airforce and turn left

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here we turn left, there are three shells next to the green grass…and normally we don´t have that much traffic on our lane 🙂

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This is the end of this small bypass road and we just go straight

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in between we pass the wholesale flowermarket and some more stalls, as well as the world bank and some other…then we end here:

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after a U turn I can see more of this nice kids park

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and then we are nearly there, only one more right turn

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and one more

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and then I am in the office of TARANGO and my colleagues already have some guava fruit…

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And now the day can start 🙂

…to be continued…

Easter weekend in Nepal

It’s time to renew my visa. So why not spend a long weekend in Nepal?!

In the morning i woke up early to start to the airport on time. But then my phone rang and a nice lady from Biman Airline told me that my flight will leave 2,5 hours later then sheduled. Ok, then I had time to have breakfast….and relax a bit.

20140505-152152.jpg</Going to the airport from home is not a problem anymore. Just took a bus which dropped me at a crossing and then took the next bus who shouted airport. On the airport i was a bit confused where to go upstairs to the departure, but at least i found it. Checkin was a mess which took time…. I still don't know what this guy did, but somehow the five people in front of me took nearly one hour. But then this was done as well. When i sat in the airplane the next step of bangladeshi funny behavour started. They just ran back and force, not really sure where their seat is. And then they needed to take loads of pictures, chatted and tried every seat. I was happy that the plane was really empty, so i had two seats for myself. The plane finally started for take off, but one man was still running around. Oh what a hard job for the staff.

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The flight itself was pleasent. We also got something to eat, which was nice. After one hour and ten minutes we landed in kathmandu. Immigration on the airport took quite long, as usual. But finally i was out of the airport…
The first evening i spend in Thamel, where my hotel was located.

On the next day I went all way up to one buddhist temple called

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Here you see the steps from downstairs…

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…and here from the top…
It’s was a hard job to get up, but I made it and the view was rally nice

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After walking around for a while, chatting with some kids and watching a very kitschy music video recording I walked to the city centre and the Durban square.
On my way some street kids walked with me, hoping they will get some money, of course…

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Durbar square was full of locals and tourists and I got hungry, so I had some noodles in a stall.

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After I came back in the late afternoon my stomach started to hurt and I knew that now the time has come to get sick the first time on my travel.
The next two days I spend in bed with such a big pain I never had before.
But on Sunday I started off again to Pathan!

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The bus ride was very short and more pleasant then I expected. Pathan is a really touristic place but charming. Small streets are full of stalls selling golden handicrafts. In evert corner you will find some pagoda, temple or shrines. The Durban square there is unesco world heritage site and worth the 500 rubies every foreigner has to pay.

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And I was surprised to find a German bakery in a side street 🙂

I had dinner that day with some friends of friends and the next day I needed to leave for the airport.
Was a short, painful, but nice time when I was not sick. Also the temperature was adorable when comparing it to Dhaka heat.
But actually, I was really happy to be back. And here the promised picture of the airport arriving follows….but that day it wasn’t really crowded…

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Now another four weeks can start 🙂

Cultural study

Now some weeks have passed and I kind of enjoy Dhaka now. Of course, it’s different but the people are very interesting and make the experience.

The first thing every white person has is that people are starring. I don’t mean looking, no they are starring. When I stand somewhere for longer then a minute they stop and stare as long as they have time or I go away. On the first days that was a bit unusual and I didn’t feel well. But now I am kind of used to that. And you can even stare back 🙂

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Another thing is taking pictures. Some ask you to make a picture with them, some just take a random pic of me and some don’t even ask. But some also ask if I can take a pic of them. So here is my small gallery of funny shots…

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For example I was sitting on a tea stall one day, then four woman passed by, stopped and came back. They asked me to take some pics of and with me. Ten minutes later they were done and very happy. Especially woman like to look. Also because of my lip piercing. That’s so fascinating for them and I like to make up stories why I have it. The best answer is always to be married or religious reasons.
You may know that the woman here needs to have a nose piercing when they get married. So normally the girls get it in a very joung age to be prepared when the day comes…

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My First Day in Dhaka

I thought I was quite well prepared to come to Bangladesh. I learned some bengali phrases and the numers, read a lot about coulture, the situation on the airport and so on…. But lets see.
My flight from KL was at night, I arrived at 5:20 a.m. in Dhaka. After getting out of the airplane I needed to get a visa on arrival. It was as funny as I expected. There was a small table right in front of the passport check and some guys helped all forgeiners to fill in the form correctly, pay the right amount of money (in my case 51$) and get everything needed to pass the passport checkpoint. That took quite a long time. But at some point I was through it and could see if my luggage arrived. Strange thing to get the luggage at this point, normally luggage is first and then you pass the immigration… Anyway. I think already two hours passed now from the time of landing. So I expected our luggage in some corner of the hall, but surprise: it was still processing. After some more minutes I saw my backpack and hell yes, I was happy to see it!
Full of new energy I walked out of the arriving hall and saw exactly the same picture my travel book described. A fence, and behind it hundreds of people waiting (That is because you need to pay an entrance fee for the airport of 200 taka). Somehow it was like a zoo. Next time I will take a picture, that morning I was just too sleepy…

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Full of new energy I walked out of the arriving hall and saw exactly the same picture my travel book described. A fence, and behind it hundreds of people waiting (That is because you need to pay an entrance fee for the airport of 200 taka). Somehow it was like a zoo. Next time I will take a picture, that morning I was just too sleepy…
I knew where I need to go but I didn’t saw a taxi. After five minutes of thinking I took the offer of the „official“ taxi company at the airport at got the ride for 700 taka instead of 1000 taka. The taxi was just a normal car but he safely got me to gulshan and in the right road, but we could not find the right house. After 15 minutes of riding back and force he dropped me off at the german club. Of caurse he wanted now more money but I followed the travel guide: hand out the right amount of money nd walk away. That is really working well!
The nice man at german club called my friend And he picked me up. Just in time for a quick introduction and chat before everybody had to leave for work. I had a shower and then some hours of well earned sleep, finally.

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The alarmclock woke me up at 1 p.m. and just then my friend came in and brought some shingara for lunch! Great! I dressed up and then we went to his office to meet the people there. Afterwards I explored the neighbourhood. I think one of the main differrences to other asian countries exapt India is the traffic and the noise the traffic produces. Horns, cars, rickshaws and CNG’s everywhere and sometimes they behave like ants. Appear quick and dissapper with the same speed. But I will write more about my traffic experiences soon.
But I can let you know that nothing happened to me so far, and also on my first day in Dhaka I came home safely. After dinner in the flat I layed in my bed, ready to sleep, but then I was invited for birthday partyext door. The evening was longer then expected and dancing in wool socks and pyjama is something I don’t do that often, but it was fun!

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