So I’m jumping on the blog-bandwagon. I figured that for the next year while I’m out of the country in Bangladesh, instead of bothering people with a flood of impersonal mass emails, I would post it all in a one of these hip and trendy blog thingies, so that those interested could read about my life as they pleased. I have an affinity towards digression and half of what I write will probably be more like journal entries for myself to reread one day than anything else... but enjoy...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A breath of fresh air

My dear friend Sharon came to visit me. It was very special to be able to finally share my new life here with someone who knows me well. She works for USAID and was sent on a mission to Delhi for a month for a biodiversity assessment assignment, so came to Bangladesh for a week before her stint.

We decided to get out of the city for a few days. We made it up to beautiful Sreemongal, in the Sylhet district in the north-east tea country of Bangladesh. It was great to get out of the city for the first time… and to breathe air… ahh… Lonely planet says that as soon as you get there you'll meet this guy who owns a tourist agency with his brother, re-vamping the whole tourist industry in Sylhet area... And low and behold, we had not been in town more than 20 minutes when some boisterous young individual comes running up to us with his business card, which at the bottom says "mentioned in Lonely Planet." Anyway, that first day we just rented bicycles and drove around the pretty tea estates.

The next day we got in touch with our new buddy… our bus was leaving for Dhaka at 6ish. He met us at the guesthouse at 1. It was the most productive afternoon I think I’ve ever had. We sped to every place there was to see in Sreemongal in a few hours. We got a tour of a tea factory (no pics allowed), went to an ethic tribal village, went to a pretty lake, took a hurried walk through the rain forest, saw some monkeys, and got some interesting commentary, with a bit of politics and philosphy on life thrown in...

Enroute to Sreemongal

At some of the train stations we were bombarded by people trying to sell us stuff and beg through the window... these two kids were pretty ambitious, running after the train. I think they were pretty happy to get my banana... The other guy is saying, give me two more taka... i dropped them some bucks... well earned.

Ambitious Individuals

The Tea Plantations

Lawachara National Park

Nothing more culturally sensitive than singing along to the Bangladeshi National Anthem - Amar Sonar Bangla - in the back of a tuk-tuk speeding through the rainforest.

I love my IPod

Tribal folk cutting banana leaves

Weaving a blanket

Around Sreemongal

Farewell to Mr. Enthusiasm
(He even gave me his cool brown Reebok hat!)


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