Memories of Bangladesh

Bangladesh has suprised me with it’s beauty, warmth and calm. I have such fond memories and happy thoughts of Dhaka. I was only there 10 days ago and I’m already planning when I can get back there.

 

I had been warned continuously of the shocking things I would see and experience. How Bangladesh is very much a developing country which still has a long way to go. I was told to constantly be on alert for my safety and to be weary of everyone. But really, I did not expereince this.

I felt happy and safe at all times. I felt the roads were reasonably organised and people even stuck to the lanes and followed the road rules, surprising in South Asia. I saw poverty yes, and not wanting to become compacent or immune to the harshness of these peoples lives, but I do now understand that with a population size so large, not all can be having the same living stanard. More than 21 million people live in Dhaka, and with 160 million plus in the country, it is one of the most densly populated countries in the world. There is to be expected some difficulties in regard to getting everyone equal conditions. It’s hard to see-  but I cannot place my own society and cultural perspectives onto this society. Nor can I indulge the street life by giving into begging. There are ways to deal with this and I strongly believe that we can do a better job in greater umbers by then small amounts to individuals.

 

Wow- bit of a rant but it’s what I have experienced and seen.

I didn’t read the papers when there, but was often given a run down by one of my colleagues. Murders, rapes, divorces, riots and strikes. This was the norm in the paper everyday, but to be fair, it is found in many other countries too. There is most certainly corruption and I believe in time this will be changed as more international companies move in and outside organisations and NGO’s work with local governments and businesses. But things do take time.

 

Wonderful though to see a female Prime Minister. I was also informed that the opposition leader is also a woman, and the Secretary is also a Woman. This is some sought of progress at least, for female kind. There were lots of women in employment as well in various roles, and men seemed to be respectful.

 

To the Freedom Fighters of Bangladesh

 

I would like to spend more time in Beautiful Bangladesh and understand it a little better. Perhaps in a way though, I don’t want to delve too deep and see the inner workings of the country, I’m sure there are things in the way they run the country that they are not proud of but the same can be said about Australia.

I phone APP – The Traveller Em

My adorable friend Adam suggested the other day that with all my knowledge of travel and trips, I should have my own app. This is the best Idea I’ve heard in a long time.

The Traveller Em app.

Now,…. who can help me build it?

It will basically be a Q and A service. You send me a message about an upcoming trip or travel adventure. Of course I have my specialties i.e. London, India, Sydney and Mexico. But for all unknown destinations, I will either spread the word through my network, put you in touch with a great tour guide, website or trip advisory site. Basically i’ll do the dirty work of research and contacts for you.

What do you think?

I think this could be something super fun and cool. Best of all, it’s going to be uber helpful for travellers!!

This week alone I’ve helped 5 people with their trip planning. Actually maybe more. With direct connections, links, websites and advice on routes to take for world trips.

Advice, guidance and thoughts requested!!!

I’m going I!! What could be more apt … hahah

Thom and Sean Travel the GLOBE

This week is an exciting DOUBLE DOSE with the travelling duo – Thom and Sean from the UK.

I met Thom and Sean via their great posts on Twitter and by xploring their awesome blog, http://www.thomandsean.com. These two certianly know how to write. I can’t wait to follow the guys as they travel around the world and eventually arrive in Australia to party with me!

Here Thom and Sean reflect on their home country, England and share the best with you.

1.      Name

Thom and Sean

2.      Occupation

Theatre technician (T) and photographer (S)

3.      Country of Residence

Currently the United Kingdom

4.      Country of Origin

United Kingdom

5. Website

http://www.thomandsean.com

6.      Why do you love Travel?

I think for us it’s the opportunity to meet new people and experience new things, trying out the world and seeing what else it has to offer.

7.      Favourite place in your home country and why?

Sean: I think the favourite place that we both share is Brighton.  It’s a seaside town (technically a city) on the south coast of England and it is brilliant.  It has gorgeous Georgian architecture, friendly people, lovely little shops and vintage interestingness and then there’s the beach.  Although not a sandy beach but a pebble beach it’s still fantastic.

Thom: Definitely agree with Brighton, it’s a damn lovely city. I’d probably throw in Chester too. It’s where I went to university so holds lots and lots of good memories for me. The town itself is quite small and easy to get around but holds loads of interesting shops, pubs and restaurants within the (Roman) city walls.

8.      Best place for tourists to visit in your country?

If you accept that London is a given for every tourist, which it should be because it has so much to offer, then we would recommend WHERE????

Thom: I guess it depends on the tourist! The UK has got so much to offer and can cater to pretty much any taste! If you like the countryside and fancy yourself a bit of a rambler then head up to the Lake District and Northumberland or down to Cornwall and Devon. Both areas host stunning natural beauty spots and the very best of the English countryside!

If you’re a history buff, your in luck – we’ve got shedloads of it. From Tudor houses Roman ruins you could pick pretty much any town or city and have something to look at. For me, Edinburgh would be the pick of the bunch simply for the castle alone.

If you like you nightlife and consider yourself very much a city-based tourist, then it really does have to be London. Huge, sprawling and crowded it may be but you could spend weeks here without running out of things to do!

Sean: I think I would recommend London, you can’t avoid it, but once you have I’d pick somewhere like Bath, Bristol or Manchester. London gets a lot of stick from the rest of the UK for not being a true example of British life. So, mix it up and visit somewhere outside the south east of England.

9.      What other country would you live in if you had to leave your country?

Thom: Difficult one to answer this. I’d probably go for Australia. Good climate, good beer and good people. What more could you need?!

Sean: The United States. The older I get the more I appreciate the liberty and freedom of the USA. Also, I like the eccentricity. I know I’ll love Australia but I don’t know if I can live that far away from everything else that I know? Part of our year there is to find out if we can!

10.  Best travelling experience anecdote in your own country?

Sean: When me and my friends were 16 we went on a mini-holiday to Bristol where we were going out to celebrate a birthday (bear in mind the legal drinking age in the UK is 18). We walked through all of Bristol trying to find a guest house with vacancies and we finally found one that we named Toad Hall. There were statues, pictures and toys of frogs EVERYWHERE. The landlady was something out of a Hammer Horror Film who insisted: “NO MONEY, NO KEY, NO MONEY, NO KEY”.

Suffice it to say we told her we would go and get cash, at which point we legged it! We found a new hotel and 10 or more years later we still chant ‘NO MONEY, NO KEY!’

11.  Favourite activity when around your city?

Thom: Going down to the Greyhound Racing track in Wimbledon and putting on a few bets! Such a fun night out and very easy to pick up.

Sean: Photography. London is just absolutely amazing for photography, there is every conceivable kind of back drop or setting and I know that I’m really going to miss that flexibility and inspiration once we’ve left.

12.  Do you feel you know your country well, or is more exploring of your homeland needed?

Thom: I’d certainly like to do some more exploring as you can always learn something new about a place. Saying that, I think I know the country quite well. As a kid we couldn’t afford to go on family holidays abroad so I’ve been to many and varied places in the UK.

Sean: I definitely need to explore the UK some more, I’ve still not been to Northern Ireland (or the Republic) and the last time I was in Cornwall I was a baby. I think I’ve got a fairly good handle on my country though. The south is hard and stuck up and the north is soft and friendly. Luckily for me I like stuck up and I like friendly!

13.  Any warnings for travellers visiting in your country?

Thom: Um, not that I can think of. It’s a very safe place. Of course, city’s and towns have there dodgy areas, as they do anywhere, but nothing major springs to mind.

Sean: The UK is expensive, I think Japan is one of the only countries more expensive than the UK. You won’t get value for money I’m afraid. Visit now though because the £ is barely worth the paper it’s printed on so it won’t seem so bad!

14.  Must see movie featuring your country and Why?

Thom: Withnail and I. Possibly quite dated now, but a very very funny film. And very British.

Sean: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The British are a sarcastic bunch and also quite leftfield in their comedic tastes. If you can’t get the sense of humour then a visit here is going to leave you stranded.

15.  The best book to read before visiting your country?

Thom: I honestly can’t think of a single book that’s worth reading set in this country.

Sean: Probablysomething by Dickens or Shakespeare (technically plays not books)

16.  The must eat dish or delicacy of your country?

Thom: The classic Sunday Roast. Roast beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, veg, stuffing, horseradish sauce and lashings of gravy. Perfection.

Sean: Yeah, Sunday Roast is the best!

17.  The top three sayings to make travellers stay in your country easier? E.g. How much? Too expensive or Hello.

Thom: Beer comes in pints or halves. “I’ll have a pint/half of lager please barkeep”

The Underground public transport in London is called the Tube not the Subway. (Sean: and it’s pronounced ‘Choob’ not ‘te-u-be’

Never try to use Cockney rhyming slang – you’ll just end up sounding like a tool.

Sean: If someone asks “You alright?’ when you walk into a shop or when you first meet it means hello, how’re you? It doesn’t imply that you look distressed or dissevelled. You should respond in kind: ‘Yeah, you?’

‘Quid’ is slang for ‘pound’, eg that’ll be five quid = £5.

‘A cuppa’ is what everyone calls a cup of tea – ‘I fancy a cuppa’, ‘do you wanna cuppa?’ British tea comes with milk and often sugar, if someone asks how you like it they’re not getting fresh. ‘One lump or two’ means one teaspoon of sugar or two!

18.  Best time of year to visit?

Thom: I’m a summer man myself. Always lots and lots going on over the summer – music festivals, fetes, outdoor concerts.

19.  The 4 words that best describe your country:

Thom: Eclectic, Historic, Contrasting and Innovative.

Sean: Old, quirky, sarcastic, beer!

Follow the guys on Twitter @thom_sean

or see their blog –http://www.thomandsean.com

Delhi Delights – My Top 8

New Delhi is the National Capital of India and one of its most fascinating cities. Being the Political centre and having the second largest metropolis by population, the city has a strong effect on the people of India and the direction in which the country has developed.

 

I love Delhi for its amazing diversity and interesting culture. The markets, the temples, the bustling business, the stunning sunsets and the great night spots. I would be difficult to ever get bored in this city. Here are 8 of my favourite things to do and see when in Delhi:

 

1. Bahai Lotus Temple

This is a temple dedicated to the Bahai faith and is a more recent addition to the architectural jewels of Delhi. I have never been close to it but I have driven past many times and it is just as spectacular at night as it is in the day. Reminds me somewhat of the Opera House and the Waratah Flower of Australia, maybe that’s why I like it so much. It took me at least 4 sightings of this to finally get an understanding of what it was and it is always at the top of my list for must sees in Delhi!

http://travelinsider.qantas.com.au/lotus_temple_south_delhi.htm

2. Qutub Minar

The World’s tallest free standing brick Minaret. An islamic structure which has a number of beliefs surrounding it. The intricate detail and craftwork which covers the entire structure is worth a look alone. Entry here is cheap and there is a fabulous mix of cultures all marvelling at the magnificence of this unusual sight.

http://www.info2india.com/rajasthan/qutub-minar-delhi.html

3. Dilli Haat Markets

Resembling the traditional craftsmen and trade markets, Dilli Haat offers the traveller a chance to experience a unique style of shopping . It’s the first permanent fair for regional foods, crafts and cultural activities. It’s a completely new experience and a great day out.

http://www.delhi-hotels-india.net/dilli-haat-delhi.htm

4.Red Fort

The Unesco World Heritage Site which could easily be mistaken for the Taj Mahal…. except that it’s red. I was very confused when I first saw it as it was so similar to the Taj Mahal in style, but once you see them in comparison, you understand the difference. This is where the Prime Minster addresses the people at the celebrations of Independence day, 15th August. If anything, it’s a beautiful building to see, octagonal in shape as is the style of such Islamic architecture.

http://www.tourmyindia.com/states/delhi/red.html

5. GK1 M- Block Market

A trip to Delhi is not complete without visiting this more upmarket area and the great set of shops and stalls located at the centre. The areSouth Extensiona is called Kalisah and it’s where the wealthy come to do their lower end shopping (so my high end.) There is fabulous jewellery, great snacks, luscious hair and beauty salons and shoe stalls as far as the eye can see. You may even spot an Indian Celebrity (I saw the queen of Beauty and skin care products of India… well, you couldn’t miss her! Diamonds covering every spare bit of flesh- LOVE IT!

http://www.delhilive.com/gk1-m-block-market

6. Shalom (Restaurant)

Amazing Mediterannean lounge bar with great decor and a very trance vibe. You can smoke sheeshah (hubbly bubbly) with flavours like apple and cherry and you can sip on sumptuous cocktails! Chill out sessions playing in the background with low lighting provide the prefect relaxing atmosphere for a great night out.

http://shalomexperience.com/


7. New Delhi Parliament

The Indian Parliamentary Buildings and India Gate are essential to the Delhi City Tour. It’s best to go here with a guide who can explain the area and chances are you will probably only see it from the car. Security is quite strict in this area and it can be difficult at times to get close. It was only in the 1920’s that Parliament was moved to Delhi from Calcutta and it has remained their since.

http://www.indiasite.com/delhi/places/parliamenthouse.html

8. India Gate

A slow drive down the Rajpath will allow you ample photo opportunities of the India Gate. This is a war memorial to over 90,000 Soldiers who lost their lives serving in World War 1. It’s a magnificent structure and a testament to the Indian people and their contributions during British Colonialism.

http://www.indiasite.com/delhi/places/indiagate.html

I hope you are able to see some of these great sites in Delhi. I strongly recommend going on a city tour or hiring a tour guide for one day to really get a good understanding of the history of the city and the many facets which make it the wonderful city it is today. To find out about the best markets and where to eat, chat to a local. The Indian people are very friendly and always more than happy to stop and give some advice to visitors.