Friday, November 30, 2012

Seeing the sights

Last week was Thanksgiving. It's so weird how quickly time goes by. 

Every six weeks the students have a home visit, and we get a three day weekend. This happened to coincide with Thanksgiving (we're run by Canadians, so I'm fairly certain it wasn't planned that way). With the extra day off, a group of us decided to take two of the local teachers and visit some of the historic sights in Dhaka.

We started at Lalbagh Fort in Old Dhaka. Built by the invading Mughal empire, it  was a palace and walled fort for the visiting emperor. It had quite the extensive grounds that were very well taken care of.

This is the main palace, the sunken area in front fills with water
in the monsoon season and was used as a pool.

The main palace

Bridget wanted to demonstrate that you could bathe in the bathing pools

The burial place of a Mughal queen and her children.

 Then we went to the Mother Tongue monument, which commemorates when the Bengali people (who at the time were still East Pakistan) fought to preserve the use of the Bangla language, instead of Urdu. There was a protest there, but as our local guides told us, people just hold them there so they can get press, nothing usually comes of it.

We were going to go to the National Museum, but it was randomly closed. They aren't usually closed on Thursday, and it's not like they have an updated website with their hours listed.

We took lunch at the Star Bakery, which was just a local joint. It was delicious, fresh naan off the grill.

 We then drove northwest to Savar (which is where the horrifying garment factory fire was earlier this week) where the National Liberation Monument is.

Brick factories and power lines
We made a pit stop at a university on the way. It's home to 40,000 students and is a closed campus. Basically a whole city  within its walls.

Lovely grounds

I'm a huge fan of monumental statues. Seriously.

And when we got to the national monument I promptly left my camera in the car. Stupid. 

Imagine me standing in front of the following:
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

This is representative of the seven hills in Bangladesh. I have yet to see any hills. We had a nice entourage following us around the entire time. It was rather disconcerting. I did buy a little squeaky dog from a vendor for 20 taka, totally worth it when you consider how much it annoyed everyone on the ride back (I'm a bit like a 3-year-old sometimes).

All in all, it was an incredible day. I was really glad we had a couple of locals to guide us through and show us the real Bangladesh.

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