26th of November

About Farewells and Reunions

The day before Yesterday after 3+ wonderful weeks in Bangladesh it was time to say farewell. I was not prepared for what emotional roller coaster this was going to be. After spending 3 weeks with the Bangladeshi family I was already regarded as a family member, and when I left, some of the woman and children where crying. Boy was that tough… To be honest I was ready to give up. I am getting tired of saying goodbye – this is the tough part of traveling. And when there is crying involved… it does not get any less difficult.

But the family was hospitable to the very last end, and insisted that I should return soon, and they refused to say goodbye and insisted to say see you. I already made my first phone call to them to ensure them I was safe in India 🙂

I took the bus from Dhaka to Kolkata, as I enjoy entering a country by land. It is a nice feeling standing between two physical borders, and seeing the culture change immediately. Airports are a bit generic in that sense I feel. The bus journey was a grueling 16 hours long, lots of bureaucracy involved at the border, and I developed some nasty stomach problems on the way (some bad tea I think). Now when I arrived to India in anything but optimal condition, both emotionally and physically I was thinking – to hell with it all.

Now what always happens when I reach here, didn’t fail to happen again. This is my 6th visit to India, and the moment I stepped out of the bus into the streets of Kolkata I was filled with joy. I simply love India. It is such a crazy place, full of colors and life. I truly felt alive when I stepped out of the bus (5 minutes later I was in the toilet, that was a different version of feeling alive, but I will keep that private). I took myself a 15 hours nap, and now the system is feeling much better, and I am now ready to go exploring Kolkata. It is a very interesting city, and the part I am staying in has a decaying colonial architecture (Kolkota used to be the capital of India when the British where still around).

So here is me saying “see you again soon Bangladesh, and hello again wonderful India”.

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Categories:  Travel
24th of November

Hospitable Bangladesh

Since I was 18 I have traveled the world extensively, and it has mostly been very good experiences with very hospitable people indeed. However, I feel like the hospitality of Bangladesh deserves a special mentioning – therefore I decided to dedicate it its own post.

Never have I before encountered such an hospitable people as the Bangladeshi. I traveled to Bangladesh with no guidebook, no plans and no expectations. And my conslusion is very clear: The Bangladeshi people put hospitality before their own wallets.

Not many westerns goes to Bangladesh in the first place, so everyone here is extremely curious about you. They want to talk to you, to feel your skin, to ask you if you are married, if you enjoy the food, etc etc. So naturally you get a lot of attention (as in many other Asian countries). But I have to say that this is the first country where I have been asked for signatures by people 🙂 I feel like a superstar here.

Most of the time I have lived with my friends family here, and they have been extremely hospitable, and made me feel as part of their family from day one. At first I thought, perhaps this extreme hospitality is due to the fact that I stayed with a friends family. But I soon learned it is general for the Bangladeshi people. So many times I have been invited into random peoples houses on the street, to come and live with them for a few days. People that I have only just met have bought me anything ranging from coconuts, to coffee or tea.

Random people I have met on the bus, have given me their phone numbers and told me to call them if I need any kind of help.

I spend 5 days on a beautiful Island next to the Burma border. Upon my arrival I met an refugee from Burma, and stayed in his guesthouse. He was very keen to show me around the Island, and I asked him how much money he wanted for that? He replied very simply, no money sir – I just want a chance to practise my English. I was overwhelmed.

On the Island a local Bangladeshi guy heard that I wanted to buy a fresh lobster, so he took me to the fisherman to shop for a good one – only the fisherman was delayed for some hours, so he took me swimming, treated me to coffee. In the afternoon we did some armwrestling, and after that we where best palls 🙂

Yesterday I was roaming around on the streets of old Dhaka photographing. I ended up in an area where there is a lot of steel manufacturers. And randomly one of them invited me in to their shop, showed me around, and treated me to tea and biscuits.

I feel very sad indeed leaving this place, and I am sure that I will return one day indeed…

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Categories:  Travel