Monthly Archives: June 2011

My Beautiful Day at the Beauty Parlour in Bangladesh

Beautiful Bangladesh is the Tourism Boards phrase at the moment and they certainly delivered – not only with their lovely country but also in making me feel beautiful with a relazing day at the beauty parlour.

 

 

These women really know how to pamper you. 3 hours worth of beauty treatments and I felt like a goddess!!

Starting with a 1 hour full body massage using beautiful oils smelling of rich jasmine and camomile. Spices are added to the hot oil in order to heat the skin when it is rubbed in and relax the muscles. My thoughts wandered to beautiful places and took me on a journey of many of the incredible places I’ve visited over the past few years.

Having my feet washed in rose petals and lime water before the massage

Following this relaxing treatment was the facial. Most facials have you sitting in a chair or laying a bed and your body is covered so only the neck and face are given the luxurious care. Not with this one they didn’t! Two ladies were in there with me for the 1.5 hour treatment. I had my arms, legs , shoulders and back cleansed, exfoliated, cleansed again and moisturised. It was amazing. I didn’t realise they could do so man creative things to cleanse my skin. Finishing with some relaxin music and a cold pureed cucumber mask – I left smelling like a  fruit and vegetable market and with skin shimmering like a pearl.

Relaxed and Fresh after Treatment no.2

Before I went on to my final beauty session, I was given a refreshing glass of mango juice and some locally made white chocolate chip biscuits. Such care is taken to make your experience truly relaxing and hospitable.

Yummy snack to keep my energy levels up for the next relaxation session

I then floated into the manicure and pedicure room. Again, I had 2 wonderful ladies with me the whole time. One for hands and one for feet. They took great care in dealing with my not so pretty feet and my very worn hands. My arms and legs were again cleansed, exfoliated and moisturised. My skin has never seen such ttention and care- it’s going to go into shock when it gets back to cold Melbourne. I chose a gorgeous burnt orange to go with my outfit for the day and I felt pretty as a picture.

 

 

This was the perfect thing to end my amazing trip to Bangladesh and really highlight the skills of the people there, the kindness and warmth in their hearts, and the effort and pride they take in making people feel welcome and well served. I was so happy with everyone there and wish I could go every week.

The Beauty Parlour is called Persona, and they can be found in a number of locations in Bangladesh.

http://www.persona.com.bd/

I went to the Gulshan location and highly recommend it. Good area for shopping as well!


Conquering the Adventure Clothing Stores

I feel by the time I go on my mountain Climb in September, I shall have conquered the Adventure Store shopping expedition.

I will share with you soon my packing list…. It’s 2 pages and man are there a lot of things. I don’t know how I’m going to only have 15 kg!! There is too much stuff.

Gaitors? What the?

Apaprently they are like shin guard/ pant covers- they cost $100 and really… I see no point in them. I can put up with some dirt on my trousers if it means saving that much money.

The list actually intimidated me and made me feel really unprepared- which would have a grain of truth to it, but seriously, I gotta get myself ready.

My friend came with me and helped me to tick off the things I had on my list – that was about 3 out of 75… ooooh no! We tried on Boots at Paddy Pallin but I wasn;t really feeling it. Plus the extortionate process started to really irritate me.

We went to Kathmandu next, and with 60% off for the EOFYS sale made me feel more positive about the shopping experience and my bank account. I liked the boots better here but really need to try more on and get a better feel for it. I don’t know what I’m really looking for – It’s rather frustrating.

I tried on a few backpacks and questioned the need for a 35L backpack. They’re actually massive!! I really don’t think that’s necessary. I’m gonna buy the things I feel suit me more- I think this whole over prepared thing is a bit unnecessary.

I then bought my camel pack, which I’ve long desired, a polar fleece ($50 reduced from $130- score!) and a microfiber towel. I felt a bit better now that I had a few items. But many more shopping trips are needed. A discussion with mumma at home also proved to be fruitful as she has quite a few items I’m going to be needing for the trip including bed matt, and my windproof jacket!

This mountain climb is proving to be a challenge in so many ways.

I’m doing this climb for the benefit of Alzheimer’s Australia NSW:

To sponsor, click here


Sad Lion in the Bangladesh Zoo

I was warned many times before I went to the Bangladesh Zoo that it was not much to see and nothing special. I was also told the animals were not well taken care of and that they were perhaps underfed.

I didn’t expect to see some of the saddest animals in the world. They had sad eyes. This Lion was moaning and crying. A deep roaring cry out for help. His partner in the cage was also crying out as he did.

This Zoo needs some serious work and some serious reconsideration. It is not up to standard and it’s not good enough. It sets a bad example for any person who comes to view the zoo and for young people to see animals treated in this way.

Bangladesh is doing so well in so many ways, having a place like this is really letting them down.

Thinking of you Sad Lion 😦


More Media for Climb2Remember

So excited to be having some more media attention for my climb2remember challenge in September this year.

 

I sent out a press release recently to some Melbourne Media.

 

We got some space on the Femail website:

http://www.femail.com.au/whats-on-charities-fundraisers-sporting.htm

And also a spot on Mia Cares on Mamamia website:

http://www.mamamia.com.au/mamamia-cares/climbing-kilimanjaro-for-alzheimers-australia-nsw/

 

Every little bit counts and I really appreciate peoples support. The whole reason that I’m doing my fundraising, promoting and the climb actually is to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Australia NSW. It’s important for us to take on this part of the challenge and spread the word about this great charity.

 

If you would like to sponsor or learn more about the Climb2Remember, visit my sponsor page.


Commanding Respect

Something I love in South Asia, though I know it can be seen as bad and wrong in some circles, is the commanding of respect.

 

A boss can walk into his office and his staff of 20 will stand immediately. Whilst he walks about with his guests or colleague, they will remain standing. This kind of respect for authority and position is lost in the western world.

 

Some may question why they deserve such respect and what they do in order to earn it, but others believe that there is no need to question it- they are the boss, they have the title, they have the right to respect.

 

I truly enjoyed watching the businessman who was chairing the organizing committee for the meeting I was attending in Bangladesh, walk down the hall with 10 of his staff in tow. Everywhere we went we had an entourage and the moment we realized we needed something, someone would run to collect it or complete the task. It’s incredible the dedication, or perhaps subordanance to their roles these people have. I feel it something to be admired that they whole heartedly commit to the task, and you see it when they complete it with such efficiency.

 

 

Things did take quite a while to get going with the meeting for Dhaka. A lot of bureaucracy a lot fo channels and ums and ahs, but once it came down to the point of getting things done, they are on it. They have pulled together a meeting with the most spectacular amount of details covered, in such a short time.

 

It’s an incredible thing to see before your eyes- adherance to an order and a job that has been set out. This is why I love this part of the world. And it still amazes me everytime.


Sweet Singapore Stopover

Singapore has to be one of the top Transit airports in the world. I feel like I’m popping in and out of this place on a monthly basis, well maybe bi-annually, but regularly for sure! And it’s a great airport to be in.

 

The Singapore Changi Airport has everything the traveler can ask for. Good signage, well laid out, English and international signs, helpful information desks and service people wherever you go. A good range of food places and bars to keep you all snacked up and lots of the yummy Singapore delicacies that you always look forward to – mmm noodles and iced tea.

 

The Experience Zone

 

The shopping here is also fantastic. You definitely don’t have to go all the way to the centre of the city. The big brands are all in here and there are some awesome deals on the Duty Free. I’m definitely hanging out to buy any liquor and perfume here. The prices are the same if not cheaper than Australian dollar, and the exchange rate $SD 1.28 = $AD 1 at the moment. Bargains. $AD 33 for a bottle of Absolut Vodka and Grants Scotch! Amazing.

 

 

I’m sitting here enjoying this view of the forest and the Singapore Airlines planes waiting for me in the distance, with a lovely blue sky and interesting clouds.

 

 

That sweet, sticky and aromatic smell of Asia brings back lovely memories and familiar feelings as I walk off the plane. However you also get slapped in the face with the humidity. The warmth and tropical air in the airport is probably the only thing I really wish to complain about. But when you come across a topical rainforest in the middle of the airport, you don’t mind so much.

 

 

For more information on Changi Airport, click here.

 


People come into your life for a Reason, Season or a Lifetime

People come into your life for a Reason, Season or a Lifetime 

 

This phrase rings so true for me in so many situations in my life. It’s sometimes hard to let go of a relationship, or a time. Some thins we wish could last last forever, but they are not always meant to, and learning to accept this can bring us peace.

Cocoa Cay Bahamas 2011

 

I love the reason people and that’s what I want to focus on here. There are people who come into our lives for a moment, a conversation, to pass on a message or to help us through a day. Generally we don’t keep these people in our lives for long and they are there to help us on to the next stage or the next moment.

 

I love chance meetings and that intense time of feeling a closeness to a stranger. I was on a plane the other day and I sat with a man who I’d never seen before, never spoken to, and we talked deeply and philosphpically about life for the full 90 minute flight. I left feeling lighter, happier and with a renewed perspective of the world. Speaking to a stranger can allow you to speak openly and honestly about your feelings about your life. You are who you are as you are presented in that situation and without any of your history to cloud or influence the conversation.

 

I have had a number of conversations like this and meetings throughout my travels in the past 5 years. I really enjoy them and treasure those moments. Often I have been in a time of resistance or am feeling angst towards the world and these people step in, open me up, help me to share and work through my thoughts and then go on their merry way. No commitment, no hassle, just a good old chat and some important reminders and messages.

 

Abbotsford, Melbourne, 2011

I encourage you to embrace these situations. You may be tired and feel as though you want to be left alone and get on with your thing, but these can be welcome interruptions. They may give you insight into the way you were feeling and take you to a different level of thinking.

 

Thank you kind stranger and I too wish you all the best with this next season of your life.

 

(Photos from my random collection of Travel snaps – because they are beautiful)

This one is for the lifetime - Taken Oaxaca, Mexico 2009

 

A poem to explain more:

 

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown



Bangladesh Basics

I’m getting myself all prepared for Bangladesh and am sorting through some need to know info for the trip.

 

Here are some of the things you might like to know, and that are of course necessary knoledge for my Trip.

 

My Accomodation:

Ruposhi Bangla Hotel

The first renowned international five-star hotel in Bangladesh, Ruposhi Bangla Hotel (former Dhaka Sheraton Hotel) is in the most prestigious location; just three kilometers from the downtown business district and near Dhaka’s most famous Ramna Park and National Museum. It is also at a convenient location from Prime Minister’s Office, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre, Bashundhara City Shopping Centre, famous Dhaka University campus and surrounding historical places.

  • Shuttle transportation service from / to airport USD 7.00 per person each way. Proceed to the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel counter at Dhaka airport on arrival if you require this service.
  • Limousine transportation service from / to airport USD 35.00 each way

 

 

About Dhaka

 

Climate
Dhaka experiences a hot, wet and humid tropical climate.

Average high in June 34.4 °C / 94°F
Average low in June 28.3°C / 83°F
Average Rainfall in June 358 mm / 14.1 inches

 

 

So it’s sunbaking time on my days off. Looking forward to escaping the cold in Australia at the moment.

Currency
The Taka (Bengali:টাকা, sign: ৳ or Tk, code: BDT) is the currency of Bangladesh. The most commonly used symbol for the Taka is Tk and ৳, used on receipts while purchasing goods and services.

Electricity Supply

(always important to know- though I now carry a universal adaptor everywhere)

Outlets in Bangladesh generally accept 4 types of plug :

Food
Western food is available in all major hotels and most of the big restaurants in import cities. But local dishes are normally far better and more exotic. Curries of many kinds around, cooked with proper spices and hot curry powders. Those who do not care for rice dishes can try mughlai parata, plain parata or naan, which go very well with curries. Fish-lovers should not miss smoked hilsa, fresh bhetki and chingri (lobster/king prawns) malaikari, Prawn dopyaza.

Language
Bengali is the most widely spoken language in Bangladesh. English is also widely spoken and understood.

Time Zone
The standard time zone of Dhaka is UTC/GMT +6 hours.

Transport
Cycle rickshaws and auto rickshaws are the main mode of transport. Public buses are operated by the state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation and by private companies and operators. Taxis are also available.

Visa Requirements
Visa required prior to departure for most nationalities. Make enquiries at the Bangladesh High Commission in your country.

Dhaka – Attractions

 

Bangladesh radiates a distinct old world charm that sets it apart from other travel destinations of the world. The city of Dhaka in the heart of Bangladesh is a land of glorified beauty, hundreds of serpentine rivers, sapphire lakes encircled by lush tropical forests, rustic mountain ranges, and emerald tea gardens. The country is home to the world’s largest mangrove forest preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the royal Bengal tiger, the world’s longest beach, ritualistic tribes, as well as relics of ancient Buddhist civilisations. Dhaka is also the industrial, commercial, and administrative centre of Bangladesh, with trade in jute, rice, oilseeds, sugar, and tea. Manufacturing in the city focuses on textiles and jute products. Dhaka is famous for its handicrafts.

Dhaka, Bangladesh is a land of impressions – a land of peace; a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.

 

(We’ll see if their description measures up with my own experiences.)

Mosques
Dhaka boasts numerous holy mosques. The most prominent are the 7-domed Mosque that was built in the 17th century, the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, and Star Mosque constructed during the 18th century.

Hindu Temples
The spectacular Hindu temples of Dhakeshwari Temple and Ramkrishna Mission are monumental masterpieces.

Churches
Dhaka boasts several majestic and holy churches such as the Armenian Church built during 1781 AD, St Mary’s Cathedral at Ramna, and the Church of Bangladesh constructed in 1677 AD.

Lalbagh Fort
Lalbagh Fort was built in 1678 AD by Prince Mohammad Azam, the son of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The fort was the scene of a bloody battle for the war of independence in 1857 when 260 Sepoys (high-caste Hindus) courageously revolted against an entire British army. Outstanding amongst the monuments of Lalbagh are: the tomb of Pari Bibi, Lalbagh Mosque, and Audience Hall.

Bahadur Shah Park
Bahadur Shah Park is a war memorial built in 1857 as a tribute to the martyrs who fought in the first liberation war against British rule. It was here that the conflicting Sepoys and their civil compatriots were publicly hanged.

Bangabandhu Memorial Museum
The Bangabandhu Memorial Museum was originally the former residence of the father of the nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On display are rare collections of personal effects and photographs of this great man.

Mukti Juddha Museum
Mukti Juddha Museum contains an impressive assortment of photographs concerning the liberation war as well as materials used by its freedom fighters.

Ahsan Manzil Museum
The majestic pink coloured Ahsan Manzil Museum was the former home of the Nawab of Dhaka. The Ahsan Manzil contains 31 rooms with a massive dome seen from miles around. It also boasts 23 galleries where masterwork paintings, furniture and household articles, used by the Nawab, are on display.

Curzon Hall
The Curzon Hall is an architectural marvel that was named after Lord Curzon. It now houses the Science Faculty of Dhaka University.

 

Banga Bhaban
Banga Bhaban is a grand palace and the official residence of the country’s president.

Baldha Garden
The Baldha Garden has a diverse variety of indigenous and exotic floras and trees.

Ramna Green
Ramna Green is a vast stretch of green garden encircled by a sparkling lake near the Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

Parliament House 
The Parliament House was designed by the famous architect Louis I Kahn and has been called Bangladesh’s architectural wonder.

Science Museum
The Science Museum is a state-of-the-art faculty dedicated to the advancement of sciences.

 

Old High Court Building 
The Old High Court Building was originally the residence of a British governor. It artistically blends European and Mughal architecture and design.

Dhaka Zoo 
The Dhaka Zoo (Mirpur Zoo) is a recreation of the wild and boasts many exotic animal, plant and bird species including the royal Bengal tiger.

The National Museum 
The National Museum contains a large number of interesting artefacts including sculptures and paintings from the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim renaissance periods.

Botanical Gardens
The breathtaking Botanical Garden at Mirpur is a 205-acre natural paradise.

The National Park
The National Park is a vast 1600-acre forest land with facilities for picnics and boating.

National Poet’s Graveyard
The National Poet’s Graveyard commemorates revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam who died in 1976.

Suhrawardy Uddyan Park
The Suhrawardy Uddyan Park is a historic landmark where the oath for Bangladesh independence was taken. The park is well known for its lush verdure.

Mausoleum
Mausoleum of National Leaders is the resting place for many of the country’s most eminent national leaders such as Sher-e-Bangla, A K Fazlul Haque, Hossain Shahid Suhrawardy and Khaja Nazimuddin.

 

So looks like I’m going to be kept busy there!!

 

Anyone else been to Dhaka, Bangladesh? Love some advice and tips!

 

(Information provided to www.fapaa.org by Bangladesh Freight Forwarders Association, BAFFA, )

 


What’s with the Hook Turn?

What is with it? Please explain!!

The signs

 

I see the signs, I hear people talk about it but really, it’s weird?

 

 

 

 

Apparently it’s a very smart idea and useful as it helps guide traffic. They can only be found within the city of Melbourne and have to do with controlling traffic around the Trams.

 

Apparently the way you do it

Hook turn explanation

There are special traffic lights and signage for them and apparently you just follow the instructions….

 

Whatever! I’m not driving in the city… Public transport is great so I’ll roll with that HAHA

 

 

Share with me your experiences of hook turns. Or are you as lost as I am?

 

Check out this you tube Video on the MELBOURNE HOOK TURN

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VC110TeusA


I’m off to Sydney and Bangladesh this week

I’m off again. More Travel and more adventures.

 

This time I’ll be going to Sydney and Bangladesh and I’ll be away for 10 days.

It’s only been 4 weeks since I was last in Sydney but if it work calls for me to travel, then that’s what I have to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be heading to Sydney for work with FAPAA/ AFIF to get ready for heading to Bangladesh. I’ll be there working as the administrator for the Fedearation of Asia Pacific air Cargo Assocation’s annual meeting. There will be 18 delegate countries there and after going for 7 years, I have made some truly wonderful friends and valuable work colleagues.

 

 

 

I’ll also be in Sydney for the #TravelMassive after party following the Web in Travel Conference. I learnt about Travel Massive through Twitter and have made some really good friends in the industry through our meetups.

 

Whilst in Sydney I’ll also be visiting my new work, TravelCandy. There’ll definitely be more posts about them! They’re a travel website which offers hotel offers and deals for an exclusive members only club. www.travelcandy.com.au. I’ve always wanted to work for a Travel company and I’m enjoying working with the team.

 

 

I’ll miss Melbourne whilst I’m away. I love living here. But I also love Travel and look forward to more escapades.

 

Hoping to have many interesting stories from Dhaka, Bangladesh..

 


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