"When you talk, you are repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new..."
26 March 2007
Day-1 : Home of the Royal Bengal
The SIA flight transited in Singapore and we have to rush to board the connecting flight to Dhaka. The fight was uneventful and I slept all the way while listening to light music. He watched the in-flight movie until touched down at Zia International Airport where we were met by his staff and driver and checked in the Chalet Hotel somewhere down town Dhaka. I was dead tired. His voice was droning and I was fast asleep by the time he kissed me goodnight. He continued tapping on his lap-top in the wee hour, preparing for the slide presentations for his briefing tomorrow.
27 March 2007
Day-2 : Pronounced dry and dusty
|(Riding on a rickshaw)|
The weather was fine for a walk around the hotel so I headed towards north but the road led to no where in particular. It is the hot season in Dhaka now and I was sweating profusely. The air is dusty and humid too. Along the narrow road the side-walk was crowded with hawkers, peddlars and roadside vendors selling knick-knacks.
|(Mangoes and plums)|
And the streets were made even more busy with rickshaws conquering half the road. I while away my time looking at colorful drawings at the back of the rickshaws. I was amazed at the creativity of these people.The rickshaws of Bangladesh are said to be the gaudiest in the world!
28 March 2007
Day-3 : Exciting History and Culture
I planned to explore Dhaka on my own as the rest of the team need to work. And Munir is going to be my tourist guide for the day although I envisaged that communication between us would be very difficult as his English is limited to ‘yes madam, no madam, alright madam…’
|(Visiting the National Memorial)|
We started early, after the hotel Manager gave a series of instructions to Munir. He drove away from the congested Dhaka city into the suburb. We took the hi-way then into a village road criss-crossing several rivers. Located on the northern banks of the river Buriganga, Dhaka is virtually an island framed by many rivers and a watery landscape. We avoided the busy waterfront road but I could see that it is crowded and bustling with activities.
|(The National Parliament)|
Our first destination was the National Memorial located at Savar, 35 km from Dhaka city. The memorial designed by architect Moinul Hossein, is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 war of liberation. Jahangir Nagar University and its sprawling campus is also located nearby. An attractive village bazaar is held at Savar every Saturday and Tuesday where typical Bangladeshi sweets, vegetables, fish, seasonal fruits and handicrafts are available.
|(The Zia Uddan)|
On the way back to Dhaka, we stopped at the Chandrima Uddan, sometimes called Zia Uddan. It is a park situated in the road beside the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban. The name literally means "Moonlight Park" in Bengali. The park is notable for being the place where the former Bangladeshi President, Ziaur Rahman was buried. It is connected to the road with a bridge which runs over the Crescent Lake. The park is a common place to spend leisure time in the vicinity.Right across the road is the Parliament House: Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar has distinctive architectural features. Designed by the famous architect Louis I. Kahn, it may be called an architectural wonder of this region.
Then we passed the Central Shahid Minar, a symbol of Bengali nationalism. This monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquet gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere. Celebrations begin at zero hour of midnight.
|(Dhaka green tuk-tuk)|
The next prominent building is the Baitull Mukarram. It is the national mosque of Bangladesh. Located at the heart of Dhaka, this mosque was founded in the 1960s.The mosque complex was designed by architect T Abdul Hussain Thariani. The National Mosque of Bangladesh has several modern architectural features, and at the same time it beautifully preserves the traditional principles of mosques architecture. Baitul Mukarram’s resemblance to the famous Ka'abah at Makkah makes this a unique mosque in Bangladesh.We stopped to take photo of the High Court Building, originally built as the residence of British Governor. It illustrates a happy blend of European Mughal architecture.
|(The Shaheed Minar)|
The National Museum and the Bangladesh Bank were centrally located but the streets were busy for us to stop for photo shots. The museum contains a large number of interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods.
We ended our tour at 2.30 p.m. By that time I was feeling very hungry so I ordered room service for lunch. I slept the whole afternoon only to wake up when he returned. We ordered room service again for dinner as we were tired and too lazy to go out...
29 March 2007
Day-4 : Bangla Local Scenes
Cycle and auto rickshaws are the main mode of transport which cause traffic congestion and have been banned from many parts of the city. Scooters, taxis and private automobiles are becoming increasingly popular and run on compressed natural gas to avoid pollution. Can you imagine being caught in long hours of traffic jam in the middle of Dhaka city!Dhaka is connected by highways and railways to other major cities. The Kamalapur Railway Station and the Biman Bandar Railway Station are the main stations providing trains on suburban and national routes. Another form of transport is the public bus, which will only move once filled to the maximum. You can choose to ride on top of the bus with the rest of your belogings...
|(Passenger bus - overloaded)|
For those staying along the river, the Sadarghat Port on the banks of the Buriganga River serves to transport goods and passengers up river and to other ports in Bangladesh and South Asia. During the dry season, water subsides to expose dry river bed...
Tropical vegetation, paddy fields and moist soils characterise the land surrounding Dhaka, which is flat and close to sea-level. This leaves Dhaka susceptible to flooding during the monsoon seasons owing to heavy rainfall and cyclones.Each year Dhaka and its surrounding low areas experience severe threat of flood with devastating death tolls reported across the country, from drowning and diseases. Many were made homeless and live in temporary shelters in unhygienic conditions...
30 March 2007
Day-4 : End of Bangla Holiday
This morning we woke up late then the 4 of us went for a shopping spree. Our first destination is the new market where we bought t-shirts and track-bottoms. Blue Jeans and bone china are also cheap here.We went to Elephant Street to change some Taka and bought Punjabi shirts and leather shoes. Then we headed to Baitul Mukarram to order wedding cards for a friend in KL.
Our last stop was at Arong, one of the famous super-markets in Dhaka. We finally reached our hotel around 3 p.m. and had a very late lunch. The whole afternoon was spent packing and napping.
Our flight tonight is at 11.50 p.m. My holiday is coming to its end. There's sadness in my heart…
Life is just passing by the window
catching a glimpse or two
nothing is precious in the end, but the journey.
There may be no apparent right or left turn
in the heart of turning, there is a joy
Embracing that joy is a unique fulfillment.
Life is just passing by the window
catching a glimpse or two
that is the ultimate experience......
M Iqbal Hussain