The Sundarbans are home to an estimated 400 Bengal tigers, and most tourists who come to the area are in search of these tigers (and other exotic animals). Unfortunately, we didn’t see any tigers, but we did have a lot of fun along the way! Check out some picture from my first 3 days (of 5) in the Sundarbans.
On September 23, I got to sleep in (woo-hoo)! I packed my bags and headed down to Gulshan (the diplomatic/down-town area). There was absolutely no traffic (everyone leaves the city during Eid), so I got there super early. I decided to check out a cafe for a few hours… iced tea, pistachio/caramel ice cream, the Lonely Planet Bangladesh book, and a plug to charge my electronics = heaven! At around 3:40, I made my way to the meeting point, where I saw a whole bunch of white people (so I knew I was in the right place!). We made our way to the bus (which was air conditioned, with space for about 30 – if you fold down the aisle seats). Thankfully there was only 12 or so of us on the bus, so we had lots of room to spread out and were able to put all of our luggage in the back. There were going to be 25 people on the tour, so the other 13 people waited for the second bus.
Last week the office was closed for Eid, so I decided to explore the country! I took a boat trip to the South-West part of the country, which is called the Sundarbans. I met some great people and it was nice to have a little get-away. I’m still compiling my pictures and stories from the trip, but I wanted to give you all some quick facts about the Sundarbans to prep you for my next blog.
Did you know….?
For the next 6 months, I’m living in an Islamic country, where over 90% of the population in Muslim. Although some population of the country is Christian, Hindu, or Buddhist, the large majority of Muslim people means that most holidays, food, etc. caters to the Muslim religion.
All gates in the city have been decorated with these pointed shapes in a variety of colours (the city is filled with gates, one at the entrance to each community or neighbourhood), and “Eid Mubarak” is the common greeting during the week (as seen in the sign at a local store).
According to Wikipedia, Eid al-Adha (although it is known by different names in different languages/regions) is the second of two major Muslim festivals, and is observed on different dates each year according to the lunar calendar. The holiday is also known as “Feast of the Sacrifice”, and involves large gatherings of family and neighbours; giving to charity (especially feeding the impoverished); religious ceremonies and prayer; giving gifts; large meals or feast; wearing new clothes; and sacrificing animals. The animals are sacrificed in “commemoration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his young first-born and only son in obedience of a command from God”, as told in the Quran. “Eid Mubarak” is the greeting that you use to communicate well wishes during the Eid period, and small gifts are given out to children.
I have been on adventures around the world before, including solo travel. But every new trip brings its own brand of delightful adventures and stressful challenges. Last week, I flew to Bangladesh to begin a 6 month journey. Here’s the story of the last 12 hours before I left, and the first few hours after I arrived (oh yeah – and everything in between!).
If you had asked me the question “So, what you up to next week?” last week, I would have said “Leaving for Bangladesh!!” Crazy right? Not an ordinary answer, and definitely not what I had in mind even 2 months before leaving. Here’s a bit of what I was feeling last week before I left…
Wow, I can’t believe the week has gone by so quickly! In August, I had never been to Asia, and now here I am in Bangladesh with a new job, a new roomie, and a whole load of new stories. It’s been an incredible whirlwind with lots of cultural adjustments to be made on my part. I’m learning lots… here’s a quick list of a few things I noticed this week:
Life in Dhaka is hot, and a little terrifying (in the best way possible)!
The other day, when I went to the library, I stumbled upon a brand new book. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it was the story of Eric Duncan, the man who brought Ebola from Liberia to America. The media had so much to say about him, mostly horrible things about how he had supposedly done this on purpose. I was eager to hear another version of what really happened… and “My Spirit Took You In” definitely did not disappoint!
Spoiler Alert: I do discuss the beginning, middle, and end of the book. However, since this was a news story, I’m assuming you already know how it ends!