Monday, July 23, 2007

oh the joys of going back to work, after working today you wouldn't think i was away for 3 weeks!!!
a law should be put in place, called the 'holiday after a holiday' law, that all jobs must abide by, you see if i ruled the country then that would be one of the many things i would introduce :)
any way i do thank Allah for having Sunday at least to rest and generally find my head which by the way i found eventually, well half of my head at least.
ok so Bangladesh, wow mashallah what an experience, i absolutely loved it and it was def an eye opener and i managed to pick up some of the language as well (well some are swear words, how is it that the easiest words are always the bad ones? tut tut tut).

well after the adventure of seeing a random naked lady in the middle of the street (safia i have no idea why she was there and no one seemed to care either, bystanders acting like they where watching paint dry lol, my friend did contemplate going down to cover her with a scarf or something), we got back to the hotel which was thankfully air conditioned, i think if it wasn't then i would have slept in the shower. we didn't do anything that night which was for the best really because we where so tired and out of it, we barley ate something before falling into bed to go to dream land.

next day woke up around 8ish having had a good nights sleep, well i did anyway, and it was time for breakfast, now i wasn't relying on Bengali coffee being the best of coffee so i had brought my own, all they needed to do was supply hot water and presto that's my breakfast done, but i was expected to eat something at least, well breakfast in Bangladesh consists of roti or parata (similar to chapatis or for Libyans 'iftat') with sabzi (mixed cooked vegetables) and occasionally curry, i kinda invented my own style of breakfast that consisted of the roti with honey, curry is a bit to heavy for me in the morning, the best thing though is the fruit, mango and pineapple fresh for breakfast is out of this world.

our tour guide had sent his driver to pick us up to take us to his office to discuss the coming tour, which was split into two parts archaeological tour and another tour.
so after getting to know the team and looking at the programme and answering all of our questions it was time to have a tour of Dhaka and lunch.
the first stop was round the corner an old mosque which had an open courtyard which they only use twice a year for the eid prayers, and a raja used to ride his elephant all the way to this mosque every eid to pray.

actually alot of the mosques have this big open square especially for eid.
round the corner was a jack fruit tree, now i have never seen such a fruit, and it does look weird, my friend says its the best fruit ever, and that she can never have enough of it, so i was game for trying it out, fruit couldn't possibly be disgusting now could it? i didn't try it out straight away as there wasn't an opportunity but a few days later the opportunity came, i was sat in a superintendents house (he kindly invited us over for tea) when i was offered to try out jack fruit, so i put a morsel in my mouth and smiled being aware that all eyes where on me, all i kept doing was smiling, nodding and not being able to swallow, wallahi i have never tasted anything like it, it was slimy and tasted fermented, i managed to swallow the piece in my mouth and placed the rest on the table which my friend kindly finished of for me.

i jokingly told them that you could probably get drunk of jack fruit what with it being fermented, maaaaan it was jack fruit season so every time we visit people they would insist on feeding us jack fruit, which i never went anywhere near.

before going back onto the mini bus we bought some street food which one of the girls became famous for as she has cravings for street food, lets just say that she experienced some toilet problems hee hee hee.
this type of street food is called moori which is popped rice mixed with spices and chilli's, pretty tasty.

i fell in love with a samosa style thing called shingara which is absolutely delicious, but its considered street food so eating to many will mean a night in the toilet for sure, and one thing you don't want is to have to keep going to the toilet which most are hole in the floor, so the less toilet time the better and some of the toilets where untouchable, it's actually better to take a spade and dig your own hole :)

next stop was to a paan shopPaan is basically a leaf from a creeper called the Paan creepers. There are different types of Paan creepers. These different types of Paan leaves are made into many different varieties of Paan by adding various different ingredients and then folding into triangular shaped bidas, the shop we went to sold sweet paan, most Bengali's eat paan regularly, many of them eat it with betlenut, tobacco and limestone paste, and is very addictive and causes serious damage to teeth, making them black and the acid in the lime paste eats away at the teeth.

when Paan is chewed, a red food dye inside it makes the mouth red, loads of people do not swallow much of Paan, thus resulting in pool of red liquid (due to red dye and saliva) which they spit out (the red liquid) rather than swallowing it.

its prepared into little triangular parcels, and eaten whole, i only tried it the once, obviously without the tobacco and lime paste, very weird taste, i guess its an acquired taste, i never really got over the smell of the pan leaf, its very over powering and made me feel nausea's.

opposite the paan shop was a sweet shop that generally sold matti (asian sweets) but the reason why the tour guide took us there was to taste a particular sweet by the name of shondesh which he found hilarious as my name is sondes and through out the duration of the trip i was continuously called shondesh, great!!!! oh well at least it means sweet and not something embarrassing.
we where taken to a lake where we walked around it enjoying the scenery, we called it lovers lake due to the fact that every step we took would be couples sat down, gazing either into each others eyes or looking away bashfully loooool.
the lake had a huge mansion looking down at it, this mansion is called the illegal mansion by the locals as it was built illegally on land that does not belong to them,

i think the name of the house is called the 'lake house' but i much prefer the 'illegal house', actually it's a common thing for land to be taken over and built upon, day light robbery!!!!

its only recently that change is occurring where most of the previous government have been arrested and a temporary government is now in place and they are trying to reduce the number of corruption and we did see many building being demolished as they don't have the right to exist for being built on other peoples land.

also major investigations are being done, and whilst we were there we kept hearing of more and more arrests, and apparently the country has never had it so good, hopefully its a start of more good things to come.

they should investigate the illegal house which by the way is built in the shape of a boat:
sadly just opposite this house where shanty houses, the rich and poor divide is very obvious and very much in peoples faces
a walk away was an old mosque called Saat Gumbad (meaning the 7 domed mosque) built in the time of the mughal rule that used to be red but now is white interestingly, its smack in the middle of a shanty town and its still used for prayers, opposite it is madrasah.

the wudu area is sooo cool, its like little slabs of concrete to sit on and a pond to make wudu from:
sadly most mosques do not have a ladies section as they believe that woman should pray at home, but at least they allowed us to walk around and take pictures.

back to the mini bus it was, whenever we stop due to traffic, we get bombarded by either beggars or street sellers, this guy was selling 'teach yourself English' books in picture form, it took a while for him to realise that we where not going to buy from him:
through out my stay in Bangladesh i took snap shots of beggars and street sellers, which they loved and would always pose for bless.
we where taken to the house of Parliament area which looks over a lake well more like opposite the lake and across the bridge was a memorial centre with a tomb in the middle.

Arabic calligraphy surrounding it. and just waiting for us outside was another street seller this one selling peanuts which by the way are very addictive once you start eating them:
afterwards off to eat biryani (rice mixed with meat) which i didn't realise was goats meat until a few days later so that was a first for me.

then back to the hotel, the next day was to be the start of the archaeological tour and we had to leave at 6 in the morning, aaaaaaaah waking up so early is a killer for me.

will blog more another time.....


Weldemdina said...

Great snaps WA, you are real adventurer in relation to street food :o), I wont even buy street food in UK let alone in Bangladesh too risky, anyway good to have you back .

Anglo-Libyan said...

I agree, we should have a holiday after holiday law :o)

great pictures, I liked the buildings, so nice.

I had one of these parcels once in a Southall Indian restaurant, it didnt have tobacco but a lot of spices and colours and my mouth just filled up and i didnt have enough space there, I had to spit it, never had it again, I will make sure to keep away from Jack fruit too.

Ahhhhh, the usual toilet issue, my real hate when travelling.

Thanks for this very very intersting post and im looking forward to more :o)

ibeebarbie said...

Salam White African,
WOW! What a spectacular recap of your venture to Bangladesh. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

Brave Heart said...

shondosh in Bangladish, it can be like Alice in wonderland, i wish to have house like illegal one, it looks very nice.

fudgebumpkin said...


I can't believe you liked Bangladesh - I couldn't stand it last time I went!

Ah well Sondes, I think I'm going to have to go with a tour group myself next time...seems you see more interesting things!

By the way, jackfruit is an aqcuired taste and it's quite nice after you get used to it.

Lady_WildKat said...

katol as u should eb calling ti now is lovely, and by the end of the tour you were sayin it smelt like a fat womans you know that i dont want to ask, cos i'm afraid of the answer. btw is til love it, its really nice ppl, dnt listen to Shondesh she just picky!

btw, GYM landed ok, Uncle Shahid phoned me and asked about you, both Shaown and Sabir asked too and said they miss u (and ur still their favourite- the traitors!) Shamsul is still upset we all left him but is ok now Shules is there.

Bangladesh is top, fab, brilliant- and this is coming from me. i loved it and am dying to go back. only for a holiday mind you , dont want to live there to long. the mosha bites will kill you.- dammit am itching now.......

Oh Fudge, if you want the tour guide deets let me know.

asia said...

youre baaaaaack!!

a_akak said...

i enjoyed reading your 1st day very very much and especially about the toilet part lol, it must have been a great experience and i am happy to see u liked it :) but the devide, it is very apparent?

PS: Sondas, 3ashet al-asamee

Fe Aman Allah

white african said...

weld street food is delicious but i guess all the dangerous food is delicious.

thanks you :)

anglo it took me ages to chew the paan and swallow it but i managed which i was well pleased about :0)
although i steere away from it after that.

ibee wassalam and your welocme :)

brave the house is very magnificent but im sure it has no barakah because its illegal, maybe you can build a house in the shape of a fish :)

fudge you so need to go on th etour i went on, you will see a completly different side to bangaldesh, you will love it wallahi i can gaurantee it. and like lady wildkat said if you need the tour details let me know :)

and as for jack fruit, girl i think you have to be born bengali to appreciate the taste lol.

lady shhhhhh dont be telling people what i called jack fruit lol, an di still think it does smell like that pheeeew.

glad to know shules arrived safely, and ha ha ha na na na na im liked more than youuuuuu :)

yep asia im back hun, and welcome back from egypt sis, hope you had a blast.

akak thanks you :)

and th epoor rich divide is really evident, its frustrating actually, and the more i blog the nmore you will notice it.

PH said...

Great Pictures ! thanxs for sharing I never knew Bangladesh could be such fun and the Architecture is amazing.
Glad you enjoyed yourself while you there :).


Safia speaks said...

Very nice report of a strange country. I know NOTHING about Bangla Desh except every year some ferries go down and people are always drowning and having a funny English accent.
I had no idea there was a fruit calle jack fruit.

Your report was very educating, thank you!

white african said...

thanks ph, i was pleasantly surprised by bangaldesh, and even though i saw so much whilst i was there, there wa still so much i missed seeing as well.

safia your most welcome :) hope to fill you more about bangaldesh.

Nona said...

heey am back 7amdella 3ala salamtik.. i need time to read all the posts,, bs sheklhom amazinggggggggg

white african said...

allah islamik nona, welocme back to you as well :)

LovelyHibo said...

the photes looks amzing,thanks for sharing that with us my sister:)

white african said...

your most welcome hibo :)

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