This week we visit Bangladesh. But first, we are delighted to bring you, completely free, the stunning, downloadable 2003 Calendar "Silk of Thailand: A Tribute to a Nationís Heritage". It comes in the form of 12 "wallpaper" images, each available in 2 sizes (800x600 and 1024x760) plus a free screensaver program which cycles through all 12 images. Download your copy now at:
And now to Bangladesh:-
Faruque Abu Sayeed has put together a site containing an excellent pictorial introduction to this fascinating country, together with some useful information and a large collection of music, both traditional and modern. An added bonus is his short introduction to Bengali, which is both useful and amusing.
The pictures themselves are an unusual mixture of the old and the new. He starts with the national flag and a map, mocing on to the airport and modern government buildings and then into a whirlwind tour of modern and traditional sights.
The quality is excellent and the coverage broad. If you know nothing about Bangladesh this is an excellent place to start. You can find Faruque's pictures on:
This site is subtitled "The Grand Tour" and that is a good description, with the emphasis on "Grand". Here you have it all. Geography, hoistory, climate, fauna and flora; vital facts about government and economy; literature, art, culture and food; sights and sounds.
The information is concise and clearly presented with links to more detailed sites where required. If you want to get to know Bangladesh from the comfort of your computer screen, take a look at:
Children are the best ambassadors. They are free from prejudice; they have not yet learned bitterness; they know their own land and culture and have not yet learned envy and hate. Ihtisham Kabir, the author of this enchanting website says: "My work gravitated towards the children for several reasons. The most important was that they were completely enchanting. They had engaging personalities and beautiful smiles, together with a playful willingness to be photographed. The children I photographed came from all strata of Bangladeshi society. Of course, life is not perfect for these children, specially those from poorer families. They often have to work to help support their families. But they seem to be very much in tune with nature and able to squeeze every drop of happiness out of life. Their strong family structures sustain and nurture them."
Squeezing every drop of happiness out of life is something that we tend to forget as we grow older, and these marvellous photographs are an excellent reminder that happiness does not depend on material wealth. A child's eye view of Bangladesh that serves as a reminder, if I may reverse the usual saying, that gold is not all that glitters:
His pictures are remarkable and you really feel as though you are there, looking out of a window at something real and close enough to touch. The beauty in most of the photos is breathtaking, but Jacek Piwowarczyk doesn't want you to get the wrong idea. His comments are so in contrast to his pictures that it shocks: "Bangladesh is one of the least visited country in Asia...Last week I spent alone traveling around the country but unfortunately it was not the nicest experience and I even shortened by trip. I found Bangladeshi people not very friendly and combination of such approach, religion and poverty was honesty quite horrible. However, Bangladesh is quite photogenic with unique culture and a good destination for a photographer...Visiting old Dhaka is an experience of a lifetime with a huge crowd completely unaccustomed to foreigners, pointing them with fingers or just starring at them. The town is dirty, especially near the Buriganga river with narrow streets crowded with people and millions of bicycle rickshaws and thousands of beggars. Old Dkaha is really shocking even for an experience traveler and even Calcutta fifteen years ago appeared to me like a civilized world. I even know some foreigners who were crying after visiting old Dhaka."
This, then, is Bangladesh through the camera lens. A filtered view of the great natural beauty of the place without the dirt, smell and clatter of the real world. And yet, despite Jacek's comments I can't help looking at his pictures through the eyes of Ihtisham Kabir's children (see above) and remembering that happiness can be found in unlikely places if you know how to look. Decide for yourself on:
Of the many books on Bangladesh, we would recommend thoroughly these two which are available from Amazon Books:
There is excellent hotel accommodation available in Asia at international standards. However, you don't need to pay international prices. There are substantial discounts available if you know where to look. Our research suggests that the best deals are usually available from the Agoda reservations system which you can find on:
Back issues of this newsletter are available. You can find them on:
The countries covered in other issues are:
Far East Air Fare deals from ConnectedGlobe
There are some excellent prices to be found on flights to Bangladesh. For flights originating anywhere in the world use the ConnectedGlobe fare finder page.
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