Contact details

July 25th, 2004 by MrLuxuryFashionGuru

For future reference, I’m presently in room 401 the Asia Pacific Blossom Hotel in Dhaka.  The hotel can be reached at (880) 9880406 or (880) 9884233.

Yesterday we took a day trip outside the city (14 million people and growing fast!!) to Sonargaon.  Within 5 minutes of leaving the city (which took nearly an hour), the landscape was flooded for miles on both sides.  Thank goodness the highway is elevated.  When we got to Sonargaon, which contains the remains of the first capital city of the region (formerly East Bengal?), our rickshaw cyclist had to push us though waist-high water for quite a distance to get us to our destination – a magnificent. crumbling colonial-era rajbari or palace (actually a large mansion) which now serves as a folkart and crafts museum.  We paid for some of the locals to row us around the grounds in a leaking, single-paddle rowboat.

That was a magical experience, floating serenely through the deserted, flooded gardens and around the stately, dilapitated mansion with ornate stucco-covered verandahs and mosaic-encrusted facades.  There were blooming water hyacinths, floating pondweed and dragonflies everywhere.  It reminded me of that scene in Spirited Away where the train trundles across the flooded landscape.  It reminded me of the Jungle Book river cruise ride in Disneyland.  Yet it was like nothing I’d ever seen, if only because it was so truly ethereal, authentic and serendipitous.  I’m sure the pictures won’t be able to do the experience justice, but that’s all right, because I have the memory carefully stored away. 

The sun was starting to get low in the sky when we got back onto our rickshaw and cycled through the ruined streets of Painam Nagar (I promise I’ll put the right name up eventually), a surprisingly closely-packed street lined with the remains of townhouses built by wealthy Hindus who fled to India during the Separation.  The facades of these once elegantly and intricately-decorated buildings (now inhabited by poor villagers) are now choked by creeping vines and ferns, slowly crumbling to rubble.  Amazing.  I felt a shared bond with the discoverers who first laid eyes on the lost city of Petra, or the jungle-hidden ruins of Angkor Wat. 

That’s what Lonely Planet episodes are made of. 

Like the tourism posters say, “Visit Bangladesh Before the Tourists Come”.

Dhaka city is beginning to flood…  I’ll keep you posted.

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