Happy goes exploring – Part 2

A rickshaw ride to the restaurant was next on the list.  After much haggling, we each got a rickshaw and my guy was asked to follow Setu’s guy.  I really wanted to record the experience, so Setu suggested I pull up the rain/sun cover, wrap the strap of my bag and camera around my wrists, and just go for it .  So I did. Check out this video I shot for your own experience of a rickshaw ride through Old Dhaka. Notice the sounds, the narrowness of the street, the closeness of the people walking, the range of goods being transported by rickshaw, and how the nearness of the stores to the street.  What you won’t get is the smells, which is probably just as well :-).

Happy in the rickshaw

Happy in the rickshaw

Setu making sure I am right behind him

Setu making sure I am right behind him

Snacks for sale at the side of the street

Snacks for sale at the side of the street

Chaos of the busy street.  Check out the electricity wires.  Same as Kathmandu actually.

Chaos of the busy street. Check out the electricity wires. Same as Kathmandu actually.

Lunch – believe it or not, I find myself not eating as much in this heat, and there is no such thing as a salad on any menu, unless I make it myself.  But Setu encouraged me to try out a local speciality – biryani.  This is usually served at weddings and special occasions but this restaurant specializes in it.  You have a choice of mutton or chicken biryani and it is served in a pottery bowel lined with tinfoil.  Once the food is eaten, the bowl is chucked out.  Similar to the King Curd I ate in Bhaktapur with Nikita and Binay.

Pottery dish for the biryani

Pottery dish for the biryani

As we waited for our food to come, Setu went off for a smoke.   I had noticed two women and a man sitting at another table when I went to wash my hands.  I smiled at them as I passed.  I could tell they were interested  in me.  Sure enough, one of them came over to me and with very little English, motioned to come join their table for a chat.  So I did.  they were two sisters and a brother, all living in Dhaka but they have a cousin who lives in Toronto and loves it there.  They were thrilled to hear I was Canadian.

The brave sister who came over to ask me to join them.  Her name is Jhorna

The brave sister who came over to ask me to join them. Her name is Jhorna

Jhorna's sister

Jhorna’s sister

Jhorna's brother

Jhorna’s brother

Chat was a little hard given neither of us had each other’s languages, so I took their photos and left as soon as my lunch arrived. Clearly I was more hungry than I thought as I forgot to take a photo of my chicken biryani as it was served, here is what left behind me.  Thank goodness they did not have the special desert Setu hoped they would have, as I just could not have fitted it all.

Chicken biryani leftovers

Chicken biryani leftovers

The pottery dishes were  being delivered as we tried to hail another rickshaw outside of the restaurant.

Pottery dishes being delivered on a flatbed rickshaw.

Pottery dishes being delivered on a flatbed rickshaw.

A few more photos taken of street life while on the rickshaw ride back.

Coconuts for sale

Coconuts for sale

Cane juice stall complete with cane stalk squasher that extracts the cane juice by mangling the stalks.

Cane juice stall complete with cane stalk squasher that extracts the cane juice by mangling the stalks.

Dhaka has old red double deckers as their city buses.  Wonder which ruler introduced them ...

Dhaka has old red double deckers as their city buses. Wonder which ruler introduced them …

Flat bed rickshaws lined up at the side of the road waiting for work.

Flat bed rickshaws lined up at the side of the road waiting for work.

Stalls selling everything from bags to 2nd hand clothes, on the sidewalks.

Stalls selling everything from bags to 2nd hand clothes, on the sidewalks.

Last but not least was the stunning Star Mosque.  Built in the 19th century, the tiles used in the mosaic on the outside area came from the Mt Fuji area in Japan – apparently the guy who built it just loved these tiles.  How right he was!

The Star Mosque as seen from the entrance gate

The Star Mosque as seen from the entrance gate, not quite as amazing as inside

Stunning designs

Stunning designs

Full length of the prayer hall

Full length of the prayer hall

The colours and intricate designs were just beautiful

The colours and intricate designs were just beautiful

Where the Iman sits

Where the Iman sits

Happy with tiles depicting Mt Fuji, the area where many of the times used in the mosaic came from.

Happy with tiles depicting Mt Fuji, the area where many of the times used in the mosaic came from.

A reminder of the times Muslims pray - 6 times a day

A reminder of the times Muslims pray – 6 times a day

I particularly loved the combination of colours and simple designs of this mosaic

I particularly loved the combination of colours and simple designs of this mosaic

And so ended out sightseeing tour.  It was well worth it.  I had gone to two of the sights under my own steam, but could not get in to see them for the locked gate.  So it was worth it to take the tour and gain access.  A long day in the heat but so worth it.

About Kate Coffey

After 25+ years in the investment management industry, I packed in my job and spent 2014 living and working in Nepal and Bangladesh, and visited some other places in between. It took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and it's people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Sanga foothills. Since 2014, I have continued my warm relationship with SIRC and worked closely with my friends there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes to date. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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3 Responses to Happy goes exploring – Part 2

  1. Bonnie says:

    Kate, your adventure is amazing. You are a brave woman who is truly inspirational. I love the tiles in the one mosque. I can not wait to show the kids the video of your ride. It is great and they will love to see it. Take care and talk soon. xo

  2. Grace Coffey says:

    Wow Kate – what an amazing day. Thanks for sharing your ricks haw experience – gave a great insight into busy life in Dhaka. I loved the sounds but I guess peace and quiet is a must after a while! You look great – stay safe! X

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