Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bandarban Bike Trip

Trent and I were able to borrow a couple motor bikes and do a really amazing bike trip up through the back roads of the Chittagong Hill Tracts to Lama, Chimbuk, Nilgiri then Bandarban.  We were on the bikes over 6 hours the first day as we did a few extra side trips then back again the next day in an easy 4 hours.  All these hill roads are at best single lane roads with constant tight bends and turns.  The country roads also run mainly on the ridges of the hills to make for fewer landslides with the unstable soil during the rainy season (vs cutting into the side of a hill), which makes for an especially scenic journey. A horn and good breaks are a must on this trip. Trent took his new GoPro video camera on the trip and we got some fun videos he will work on posting to youtube.

Trent on the Honda XL185 just outside of Lama

We encountered a rolled truck on this same hill both days we passed through. The men flipping them back up again seemed to know what they were doing as they had an effective system of winching the trucks back up by hand.

View of the river just past Lama. Tobacco plants seen growing on both sides of the river as a winter cash crop

Nilgiri Military reststop. This is one of the highest points in Bangladesh -which is along the highest road in Bangladesh.  The road runs along the ridge of a chain of mountains (really big hills).

Along the Bandarban - Nilgiri road

Holly and Natasha took the landcruiser and met us at Bandarban town.

Just outside of Bandarban

Hiking down to the river at first light

Natasha making her way down to the river through some banana groves

River boat ride to Bandarban town


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Malumghat River Boating Experience

Last week the group of us (Holly, Trent, Natasha & Jon) went out on the river for a fun afternoon of boating.  Unfortunately we encountered a few issues during our short adventure.  After getting out on the river not even half a kilometer the outboard motor on the boat decided to go for a swim, so we were floating down the river without an engine.  Thankfully a few local fishermen were in the area and able to haul it out of the 8' of water and mud.
Jon motoring along about 30 seconds before the motor pulled off

Some local fishermen fishing out the engine

Trent poling back to the dock. When the tide is going in there is always a bit of a sludge on the water close to the boat launch.

The workshop was able to get a second older engine put on the boat. This engine was able to get out a few kilometers down the river before quitting on us. After attempting to get the engine working again for 15 minutes we basically gave up for the day and walked back along the side of the river and had the workshop tow the boat back for us.

Waiting for engine #2.  A group of curious kids gather to see what's happening

Back on the river again.. at least for a few minutes

Walking back along the riverbank

Natasha taking a photo with a few local girls that chased them along the river

It was still a very beautiful sunny day, just not as relaxing as we had expected....


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Safari Park

Safari Park is always an adventure... It is interesting to see a variety of native species of animals, but it has its annoyances of the native humans in the park.  I am almost certain more photos were taken of us by the Bengalis in the park than any of the animals. We felt like we should have our own enclosure at times the way people stared at us riding by on our bicycles.
Our photo next to an Asian Elephant

Bengal Tiger. We were all able to quickly pet this guy through the cage while the trainer was present.
Holly and Natasha going for an elephant ride. Looks comfortable.

After some negotiations we were able to get our bicycles into the park.  All the enclosures are very spread out so it is very convenient to be able to cycle from area to area. 
We were also able to give this guy a pat on the head. They seemed to like the attention - or they were trying to draw us in for a bite. 

The monkeys running loose around the park looking to steel people's food

Small Asian tree Bear
We are still waiting to see this one in the wild. His supper of three live chickens was waiting for him at the front of the pen - unfortunately he was in no rush to feed today.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Visitors to Bangladesh

Holly's dad and cousin Natasha made it successfully to Dhaka on Saturday morning.  We have been trying to give them a whirlwind tour of the city over the past couple days before they make their way down to our home in Malumghat. It's exciting to see some familiar faces and to share our adventures with them.

Trent, Natasha & Holly out eating in Dhaka

The busy streets of downtown Dhaka

The rickshaw driver getting off the main roads to "avoid" the traffic.
Ahsan Manzil Palace, Dhaka

Buriganga River through central Dhaka

Lalbagh Fort, Dhaka

Trent crashing as the girls joined up with us at the end of the day for some more shopping