Michael P


Chittagong Division Recap
December 22, 2008, 12:11 pm
Filed under: travel | Tags: , , , ,

So i got back to Dhaka this morning at about 5:30 am.  I figured out in Bandarban that i was running low on taka and couldn’t get to an atm unless i went to Cox’s Bazaar or Chittagong City, so i decided to leave.  Then i found a free ride to the main road south to cox’s bazaar then caught two different buses and went all the way south to Teknak, the town where you catch a ferry to go to St. Marin’s Island.  I’ve always wanted to go St. Martin’s Island since i came to Bangladesh.  Now i can say i’ve been there… but i feel no need to go back.  There wasn’t much to do.  But now that i have fast(er) internet i can upload some pictures and explain more stuff.

I had to get a permit to got Bandarban because historically it’s been a more violent part of bangladesh.  Most of the people that live in the hills are part of tribes that also go into india and Myanmar.  Back during the independence war (1970’s)  all the indigenous people sided with Pakistan, so the Bangladeshi govt. still doesn’t like them.  It’s really complicated.  The bottom line was that i had to get permit, but the district commissioners office was closed for the national victory day.  So i spent two days wondering around chittagong.  I ended up walking up a hill and hanging out with some kids for a little while.  This girl had a really cute baby goat.  It’s 2 months old

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I finally got to bandarban and hiked around for two days.  I went walking for like 2 hours, got a blister, then took a really weird 4×4 van this back to the resort.

4x4van

My plan when leaving the resort in Bandarban was the just take another weird 4×4 van back the main town then catch a local bus the main road to cox’s bazaar, but some police helped me find a guy from dhaka that goes to university in London.  He gave me a ride to the main road.  Then took two really uncomfortable buses until 8:30 pm to Teknaf.  Teknaf is a border town that’s like 10 km from Myanmar.  The next morning i got on the boat to St. Martin’s Island.

On the boat to st. martin’s i met a bangladeshi that was born in London.  I was surprised to find anyone that spoke english in this part of the country.  He was going to the island with his older brother and his cousin.  They booked a private tour operator for the trip and i tagged along for the next two days.  There really isn’t much to do on the island itself.  After eating and drinking lots of coconut, trying various types of fish, and taking a couple boat tours around the island we headed back to the mainland.

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this was our unofficial guide for the island.  A 10 year old named tarik aziz.  He took us around the maze like paths on the island and we bought him coconuts and all sorts of other treats. I woke up at 6 am from all the chickens and decided to walk on the beach.  I ran into tarik and his friend narikel and watched the guys take in the mornings catch.  Later on, they were selling it off for the day and butchering the fish right on the beach

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After 1 day on the island i decided to try to get back to Dhaka.  I got pretty lonely and homesick while traveling alone.  I caught the Baghdad Express (that was seriously the name) in Cox’s Bazaar last night at about 8:30 and got back to dhaka this morning at 5:30 am.

There’s a gallery below with lots more pictures that i’m too lazy to explain.  i need a nap.

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brr
October 26, 2008, 8:24 pm
Filed under: food | Tags: , , , , ,

the temperature continues to drop.  all the students here are freezing.  i’m not THAT cold and i keep reminding myself its only 68 degrees.  i’ve been in -12, so i can handle this.  it’s also been rainy for two days straight, so i’ve kind of been locked up inside.  i got bored and decided to walk to get some cha and shingaras.

Then i was still bored, so i ate a coconut that one of my staff/students gave me yesterday.

I haven’t slept with a blanket since arriving in b’desh, so the guy in charge of the center (roshid) got a blanket for me.  When they asked me if i liked it i said it was pretty.  Roshid brought it out for all the women to see.  they liked the rose.

a couple of days ago i saw a guy riding in a CNG with a goat.  i thought it was slightly comical.



pcb land take 2 and bfc
October 23, 2008, 11:33 pm
Filed under: food | Tags: , , ,

I headed off to the PCB land a couple of days ago.  We got some nice fresh fruit and some of the best green mango (dab in bangla) that i’ve had so far on this trip.  Usually its kind of sour, but this was just right.

then we came back to dhaka and had lunch at BFC.  I think it should really stand for Bangladeshi fried chicken, but it’s actually best fried chicken.  It’s pretty good.  Its like KFC, but not over battered and pretty spicy.



switching districts
October 21, 2008, 8:21 am
Filed under: culture | Tags: , , , ,

There are some guests here from Norway and Hong Kong, so i’ve been tagging along with them for the past couple of days.  Yesterday we drove about 4 hours to a town called Magura to visit a rural church.  The pastor is one of my students, so it was a good chance for me to see what his exact English needs are.  He speaks like 5 languages, but English is not one of them.  hopefully i can help.

On the way there we had to cross the Padma River.  we drove onto a ferry boat and wandered around during the 3 km ride across.  One of the guests wanted to buy some guavas.  The guy wanted 100 taka each.  That’s way too much.  I successfully haggled him down to 25 for 3.  I was quite proud of myself.

On the boat there was 2 cars filled with american guys from USAID.  It’s funny to run into americans on a river boat in Bangladesh.  They are here from Georgia.

After meeting the church members we had snacks, of course.  i ate lots of coconut, along with some bananas and that grapefruit thing.

After the church we headed back to Dhaka and stopped for a cultural event.  I was only told that there would be a snake charmer.  It ended up being a big event.  The commissioner (kind of like the mayor) had a stages setup and all the people in the town were beckoned to come watch the performance by huge loud speakers that blasted bengali songs in every directions.  There were a bunch of bengali throat singers.  They are part of a mystic sect of Islam called lalone.

Then there was a traditional bengali folk singer.

and the snake charmer.  He had 2 cobras on stage with him.  The snake charmer reminded me alot of my friend john’s birthday party where “Desert Dave” came to show us all sorts of reptiles and spiders and stuff.  Except Desert Dave didn’t have cobras.

The show ended up going for 3 hours.  We eventually made it back to dhaka at about 10, where i fell asleep immediately.