Change Yourself…Change The World.

A Bit About Bangladesh- Part One
July 9, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Bangladesh

I am sorry for being an awful person and not updating for the past week. Writing a new post takes a lot of time that I unfortunately haven’t had much of in the past few weeks. HOWEVER, this weekend I am not traveling (partly because there is a cyclone warning), so I will be in Dhaka all weekend and I finally have plenty of time to get back to all of the things that I’ve been meaning to get to.

So, let’s start with where I last left you, last weekend. Monsoon season has definitely hit Bangladesh, so it has been raining nonstop. This didn’t give us many options- our ‘group’ (the 15 or so interns that go traveling every weekend) decided not to go to the Sundarbuns (a forest in the south of Bangladesh, where apparently there are tigers), and instead we opted to go on a ‘luxurious cruise’- by luxurious I mean squeezing 5 people each into a tiny 2 bedroom cabin- to this random town in the south called Barisol. Let’s take a moment here to read the description of Barisol from Lonely Planet Bangladesh. Note that we didn’t read this until AFTER we reached Barisol:

“It may take time, it might get uncomfortable and sweaty, it might involve numerous changes of boat and days spent stuck in muddy villages marked on no map, and THEN, when you finally reach your goal there might be nothing of note to see…”

This is where we decided to go to.

Actually truth be told, it was a great time. In my opinion, the best traveling experiences are unplanned. We took a 12 hour boat cruise (which we barely made) to Barisol, and then some of the interns met a random German guy on the cruise, and he took us around Barisol. And by around Barisol, I mean he literally took us to a Christian church service where we sat for 5 hours. Some of the interns thought it was pretty fishy-if not ironic- for Bangladeshis to see a boatload of foreigners go ‘exploring’ and end up at the doors of a Christian church.

But the afternoon proved to be a much better experience. We took a boat on ‘the chocolate colored river’ (as Lonely Planet says- yes- it was chocolate colored) and ended up in a random village, whereupon we watched as half of the interns played soccer against some Bangladeshis on the muddiest field I have ever seen in my life. We then took another cruise straight back to Dhaka. It was a very ridiculous experience, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

A bit of the culture in Bangladesh– I think I am starting to really understand the difference between religion and culture in this part of the world now. Because I’ve been in India, where the religion is predominantly Hinduism, I assumed that if you wore a sari, had your nose pierced, wore henna, or any other aforementioned cultural trait, you were a Hindu. This is not the case. Bangladesh is mostly a Muslim country, and the women wear the exact same thing. Even at the Christian church, women were dressed up in their best saris. I suppose I just had this preconception in my mind- because I hadn’t actually taken the time to think about it- that if there were Bangladeshi Christians or Indian Christians, they would come to church in dresses, or slacks, or polo shirts. Nope.

I think that is enough for today. Tune in tomorrow if you’d like to hear more.

Much love,


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