Wat opvalt in Bangladesh zijn de mensen en wat de mensen opvalt is een toerist. Aandacht, intense aandacht van soms wel 30 mensen die zich met verbaasde blikken om je heen vouwen. De mensen zijn enorm nieuwsgierig vooral als het gaat om een westerling die sommige nog nooit gezien hebben en anderen zelden. Ze zijn hongerig naar kennis, stellen heel veel vragen en hebben overal een mening over die ze graag met je delen. Sommigen spreken een woordje Engels en gaan het lijstje vragen af dat iedere Bengalees lijkt te kennen. De een kent meer vragen dan de andere, maar zelfs al kennen ze alleen "I am fine, thank you" en weten ze totaal niet in welke context het te gebruiken, doen ze het toch.
Being a boatman and owning a boat is a trade that is passed down through from father to son, through generations. Here in Khulna, young boatmen, learning the ways of the river. The young boy in black was 13 and told me proudly it was his boat he was teaching his younger brother (on the left)a few navigational skills.
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It is busy at the boat jetty in Khulna, passengers coming and going to town and to one of the outlying islands. Stepping on and off of the boats is an art. You see children to elderly people skip down the stairs and step without holding anything on to the boat, during the journey most stand correcting their balance with that of the boat easily and elegantly. So agile. The outlying island that you can see in the distance, and that I would have seen better if I had had binoculars, is flooded and under water each year during the wet season. More than 150,000 people are displaced each year!!
The trinket seller
A short bus ride from Khulna you find Bagerhat a small town boasting one of the three Bangladesh world heritage sights, the Shat Gombuj Mosque. We happened to be there on a Friday, it was busy for prayers. Although we were not allowed in the mosque,the streets around were worth a stroll. The mosque is located near a lake that becomes busy after prayers with families, picnicking or taking a walk around the lake. . He we meet the trinket seller, hoping to catch the eyes of the young women with his gaudy wares. He caught my eye but that wasn't his intention.
Fruit cart cum...play
Parked in the bus stand at Khulna the old cart was used I imagine sell, fruit or snacks in the mornings, the busiest time of the day for departing buses. Now in the heat of the day, the cart seller was probably resting and the cart became the playground for the kids.The little girl in white was very photogenic I thought, and managed to get a couple of portraits of her on her own after winning their confidence here.
As I have already said, there are thousands and thousands of cycle rickshaws and their wallahs in Bangadesh. The young man brought as to the railway station to buy our ticket for Dakha. Three kilometers there, waiting time of around 45mins, and three kilometers back into town, all for the princely sum of 50 thaka. (50 eurocent), and we know we paid too much but just cannot bring ourselves to pay the normal price.
Watching you aka de verslaving van een RR :) Have you ever felt that you were being watched? This is exactly how I felt waking up on one of the many boats we took through Bangladesh. Stretching and opening my eyes I could feel a presence. And there grinning around the curtain four or maybe more at first, curious eyes. You may have thought that they would have disappeared as soon as they were noticed but no, their curiosity too strong, they watched carefully as I reached for my camera and caught them in the act. Still smiling, still curious. The photo is also symbolic, - last weekend I posted my last photo of the RR year and my season, time to take a break. The end of this month to Burma, in the meantime Christmas, that we celebrate here but in the English tradition yes crackers and paper hats and all the trimmings. Monday was a normal day, Tuesday I stopped by to give a few reactions, by Wednesday the temptation to upload was getting to great.:) Thursday morning I succumb - the addiction is too strong or is it ego that I cant stand to be placed at 1425 :)
So many mouths to fee
With a population of 160 million, Bangladesh has many mouths to feed and with rice not only being the staple but eaten twice as day, there are a lot of paddy fields. We were there in the planting time, much activity in the countryside, but I would love to go back just before the harvest when almost the entire countryside must be emerald green.
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Sixty dome mosque
De "Sixty Dome Mosque" is de grootste historische moskee van Bangladesh. Werkelijk een schitterende moskee. Vroeger moet de moskee er nog mooier uit gezien hebben. Het pleisterwerk dat je nu ziet op de foto was toen niet aanwezig (heeft nu als doel de originele stenen te beschermen). Er is een pilaar waar een stukje ongepleisterd is gelaten, waardoor je de mossig groene grote stenen kunt zien. Ooit moet deze moskee er als een soort jungle ruïne uit gezien hebben. Bedenk dat dan samen met de stapel gebedsmatten...
Rivers and Boats
Bangladesh, is often called the Land of Rivers and Boats. Water transportation is an important means of transportation, in the country with a floodplain with more than 700 rivers and numerous oxbow lakes (locally known as haor). Traditional country boats are still popular and they provide low cost convenient transport in this extensive inland waterways. Here the early passenger ferry leaves Khulna in the dawn light
One of a million
One of the many rickshaw wallahs, (drivers), that I met, this was in Barisal, near Khulna. Rickshaws are an incredibly cheap way to travel through the towns. Our rickshaw driver cycled us about 3 kms and we paid him thaka 50 (0.50 euro cent), we knew that we paid 3 x too much, but we could not bring ourselves to pay the normal thaka 12.
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Rivers and Boats VI
Once you have managed to push through the crowds and secure your place on the boat, river travel is relaxing, and photogenic both onboard and of the passing countryside. One of the many mosques that adorn the river edge, people can be seen bathing on the ghats.
Strike a pose
The traffic cop was busy directing the traffic on one of the main streets in Khulna until he saw me with camera poised. He stopped - straightened his uniform and struck a pose.Afraid of the town coming to a stand still, I took a shot.
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A short bus ride from Khulna you find Bagerhat a small town boasting one of the three Bangladesh world heritage sights, the Shat Gombuj Mosque. We happened to be there on a Friday, it was busy for prayers. Although we were not allowed in the mosque, there was enough to occupy us outside, This young girl was waiting outside the mosque for her friends. As you can imagine she caught my attention.
When you smile the...
Er is geen ander land waar ik zo kan genieten van het straatleven. In Bangladesh kan ik hele dagen over straat zwerven, praatjes maken en genieten van de ongelofelijke spontaniteit en liefde van de mensen. Kulna is een heel erg mooie industriestad met allerlei werkplaatsjes en winkels. Dit meisje zat betelnoten te breken voor paan toen ik langs het paan kraampje liep. Ik was meteen verkocht en toen ik voorzichtig gebaarde dat ik haar graag op de foto had verscheen deze schitterende lach! "When you smile the whole world smiles with you." (zie ook de blog over Bangladesh)
And here is the slager with his stall outside the hotel. The posters on the wall are of various politicians, I am not sure who they all are but they make a colourful backdrop. The young children were on their way to school and the men in the background are making roti for breakfast. Now that was lekker:)
Zeven van gemalen...k
In het plaatse Khulna in Bangladesh is een straatje te vinden waar men allerlei kruiden en specerijen droogt, sorteert en maalt. De hele straat straalt een bijzondere atmosfeer uit. Wanneer je af en toe iets verder durft te kijken en een stap in een van de huisjes zet kom je zit soort schitterende beelden tegen. Overigens heb ik diep respect voor deze mensen die in de scherpe, prikkelde stofdeeltjes hun werk nog kunnen doen.
Street Food - II
The second in the series takes us to Bangladesh. A young boy makes and sells guava salad to the ferry passengers at the busy jetty. The skill and the techniques that he uses to conjure up the salad and spices is intriguing to watch.
Fellow passengers on the ferry to Barisal. The ferries are huge and can hold up to 6000 passengers. We had a "first-class" cabin for two persons for a five hour boat journey for which we paid Thaka 980 (euro 9,80). First-Class you have to take with a pinch of salt, but the scenery is fantastic and the opportunity to photograph your fellow passengers endless.