Today is my last Dhaka in Bangladesh as I fly out to Australia tonight before beginning a new job in Kathmandu. So here's a summary of my time here - the good and the bad . . . . .
made some great friends and met some lovely people
the kids at school were generally nice
lots of nice restaurants particularly Samdado, Soi 71, Sajna, Koreana, Bamboo Shoot and Dhaba
Cheap to get clothes copies - a necessity for women as next to impossible to buy women's western clothes here
Lots of crafty and/or fabric products to buy here and often really cheap
took up golf again as it is relatively cheap to play at the "Army" course - about $20 for 18 holes (plus golf gloves were cheap to buy too)
my nice apartment with a view that I will miss although instead I am going to a classroom with a view to die for
having the Australian Club to escape to
some interesting sightseeing opportunities in Bangladesh: Sundarbans, Bandarbans and Syhlet/Srmongal
getting the opportunity to visit Bhutan
having a maid to do the cleaning
being stared at continually by males such as the guys working on building the apartment block next to mine spending 10 minutes staring at me putting the laundry out on the balcony
the very slow and crazy traffic in which there seems to be no road rules (or they are ignored) and many of the drivers do not have licences
electricity cuts: this time last year it was one hour on and one hour off but this year it is better
the difficulty of getting alcohol including not being able to get it at restaurants with you meals (lucky I don't drink much)
giving up getting home from work in the van when I have already been in it an hour, instead getting out and walking the second half
hartels (strikes) disrupting both school and out of school life
getting through immigration and collecting baggage at the airport when returning to Dhaka
air pollution and smog particularly the particulate matter. Tends to cause coughs and sinus infections a lot
Men urinating in the street all the time. Almost every time I go out I see one of more
SPITTING (say no more) as the globs are everywhere
mosquitoes and their dreaded Dengue Fever, which I managed to avoid. Keeping them outside is a real challenge
bad drivers - try reversing up the road, driving the wrong way, turning from the furthest lane and so it goes on. That is without the continual hoking of horns. Then there are the pedestrians with a death wish and rickshaws that ignore the cars . . . .
Have I enjoyed it? Yes and no but it is interesting but it is time for me to leave as many of "The Bads" are really getting to me.
A few weeks ago, before the trip to Bhutan, a few of went back to Dhamrai, the brass village just outside of Dhaka. This time our aim was shopping and I bought the lovely brass elephant above. It is a tea light candle elephant that had just been released from its clay cast. This cute elephant cost 7000 Taka, less than $100 - a bargain for a hand-made, individual craft piece. Even better in my opinion is that it helps to keep the lost-wax method of making objects alive. I had just better watch out that I don't buy another piece tomorrow at the Canadian Club!!
To combine some of my Paro photos plus show the highlights, I used a new program (for me) called Collage Creator. The highlights of Paro are
the dzong - once a fortress and now a combination of monastery and municipal centre
the National Museum situated in the spiralling, shell-shaped former watchtower that overlooks the dzong
Paro airport - the place of arrival for most visitors with stunning views from the plane as it descends in. Only Druk Air, Bhutan's own airline, flies into Bhutan and has just two planes!
Tigers Nest Monastery - unbelievable location, located atop a 400 metre high sheer rock face and only accessible by foot. A tough hike to get there and some stunningly ornate and highly decorated to see when you get there.
Been a bit slack lately but have just come back from 8 days in Bhutan and 6 days in India. Bhutan - what can I say, all of us thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to return. Fresh air, mountains, forests, friendly people, stunning architecture and great food. What more could a person ask for.
Here are a few of my favourite photos - others to follow later.
Read about the arrival of Aussie Rules in Dhaka here. Articles such as this one in the Financial Express, were published in all the English-language newspapers last week after a game at ISD that was supported by the Australian High Commission.