Late summer 2010 a friend proposed a moms' only trip. Woo-hoo! We had been in India for three months. I hadn't been out of Delhi/Gurgaon. I thought, It's about time for a nice relaxing, pampering beach vacation. Then she said, "I'm thinking Dhaka in Bangladesh." My reaction must have been wide eyed and a little shocked looking. Bangladesh had never even been on my radar. I wasn't even sure if I knew where Bangladesh was. Safety, health, visa issues, and on and on went through my head. Then the adventurer in me took over and said, "Ok, Bangladesh. This could be interesting." So Bangladesh it was for a much needed long weekend away without kids or spouses.
We splurged a little and stayed at a nice hotel which had a lovely restaurant and nice spa services. The massage was much needed after taking the above ride on a bicycle rickshaw.
What can I say about Bangladesh?
It's dirty, noisy, smelly, and altogether foreign. At the same time, it's amazing. The people were warm and welcoming. They were kind. They were helpful and interested in us. From what I can see Bangladesh still does not get many foreign tourists. The people aren't jaded and thinking about what they can get from these "wealthy foreigners."(Yes, all over the world people assume that if you are American, British, Australian then you must be filthy rich) More often than not, the people wanted to know why we were visiting their country, what we thought of it compared to the west, and if they could show us around. It was extremely refreshing.
Before traveling multiple guides and people said to be sure and see the Bangladesh Rickshaw Art. We searched and searched, walked up and down many streets and back alleys, asked, pointed, and tried to find the street where this is all done. No luck but just visiting and traveling around Dhaka is a live, moving gallery of Rickshaw art.
The drivers are very proud of their rickshaws and the artwork on them. These men in their dhotis or what looks to us like a wrap-around skirt work very hard for small fees ferrying locals and tourists alike around the city. In among the traffic, smells, and noise, they zipped and got us from place to place. It was nerve wracking at times but a fabulous way to see and feel Bangladesh.
Stayed tuned from more photos and observations from Bangladesh....