Archive for November, 2009

Purple is Catie’s power color

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

On the first day of November (almost a month ago) Catie and I used up our last bucket of ColorBank paint – this time to paint one of our bedroom walls purple. I wasn’t sure about the color at first but I must admit it looks fantastic in the morning when the sun streams in through our balcony window. I’m kind of sad we’re out of paint to be honest. Maybe I can convince Catie to go back with me and get a bucket each of orange and green…

A short river stop back in the Chittagong Hill Tracts

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

At some point in the late afternoon during our boat ride up the Karnaphuli River, the captain decided we should stop and turn back even though we hadn’t quite reached Kaptai Lake. Before we began our long journey back to Chittagong however we enjoyed a short break on land in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. I’m not sure where we stopped or if it had a name – it wasn’t really a village so much as a roadside restaurant and lookout – but I did have my GPS recorder on for the whole journey.

GPS track of our boat ride on the Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh on November 7, 2009.

We were only there for about a half hour – just long enough to take a short walk up the road and back and then photograph some poor monkeys chained up on a bench as well as an old man breaking bricks in the magical late afternoon light.

Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)

Photo taken off the Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh on November 7, 2009.

I wish we could have spent longer exploring, and I wish Catie and I could have explored on our own at all really – we had a couple of the boat crew hovering over us most of the time and basically treating us like children (yelling at us to catch up and stay close whenever we lingered too far behind). It was nice to stretch our legs anyway and I was happy with the few images I got. I just love the Chittagong Hill Tracts: the color, the light, the solitude and the smells. I need to find more excuses to get out there.

Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)

Photos taken off the Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh on November 7, 2009.

I’ve got cabin fever! (I’ve got it toooo!)

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

I swear I’m still not complaining, but did I mention that our boat ride on the Karnaphuli River lasted almost 9 hours? I thoroughly enjoyed the trip but there is no denying the fact that Catie and I started to exhibit some serious Muppet Treasure Island style cabin fever as the night wore on.

A brilliant scene from the movie Muppet Treasure Island featuring the song “Cabin Fever”.

I think everyone else had a good time too. Our boat was fairly large with two main levels of seating: one even with the main deck so that you could look out on either side over the water, and the other below deck (which as a result was not visited by anyone even once during the trip). There was also a bow and stern people could hang out on, so long as they didn’t obstruct the captain’s view too badly. The most popular place from which to enjoy the voyage though was by far on top of the boat roof. It was a great place to take photos during the day, and by the end of the night pretty much every single person was up there enjoying the cool night air and the starry sky above. In true Bengali style (and utterly in opposition to the USA’s hyper safety rules), the boat crew never batted an eyelid at our being up there, and we all greatly appreciated this laxity.

Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)

Photos taken on Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh on November 7, 2009.

Another river boat ride (but I’m not complaining)

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

I seem to start every blog post with “a while ago Catie and I did such and such”, but I think it’s unavoidable and fitting since we get to do a lot of amazing stuff together here in South Asia, and despite my having a fair bit of time on my hands I can’t nearly edit and post photos as quickly as I can shoot them.

So, a couple weeks ago Catie and I joined most of the AUW staff and faculty for a boat ride up the Karnaphuli River which runs from the Bay of Bengal up past Chittagong and into the Hill Tracts. Our destination was Kaptai Lake, and although we didn’t make it there (despite being on the boat for a good eight hours) there was plenty to see throughout the journey. It was interesting to note the gradual change of scenery as we got farther away from Chittagong. The boats got smaller, the trees and grass grew thicker, and the buildings and houses became more modest. All along the way though there were always plenty of people utterly fascinated by the boat full of (mostly) white people.

Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)
Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh (Nov 7, 2009)

Photos taken on Karnaphuli River, Bangladesh on November 7, 2009.

These men work

Monday, November 16th, 2009

As I’ve suggested previously, I do appreciate an amazing view but I hate taking pictures of one. As a result almost all of my time around the lookout atop Tiger Hill was spent watching and photographing a group of men who were working to build the foundation for a new structure. Actually I ended up watching them for the better part of an hour and a half – far past the point when Catie, Denise, and Polly gave up on me and started back down the hills to a distant village. (Though I must make a special note of appreciation and credit to my ever-patient and supportive Cat that I had to do a great deal of “no really, it’s fine! you can go, I’ll be ok, I’ll catch up!” convincing before she would leave me behind.)

The men seemed to enjoy my hanging around with my camera for so long. I still don’t think they were having fun exactly as it was hard work with little chance for relief from the brutal sun overhead, but they had a good few laughs from my being there. The age of the workers ranged all the way from young adolescents to one man with a long white beard who was well on in years but still quite tough and strong.

The one odd member of the group was the labor supervisor. He was a very young attractive man, and despite the fact that most of the work consisted of the rather messy task of mixing and spreading concrete, he was wearing crisp light tan slacks and a spotless white button-down shirt. He could wear these clothes because his job consisted of nothing but watching and assuring that the men continued to work properly and efficiently. I guess there’s nothing inherently wrong with this system, but it just struck me how obviously (and visually) that slick young man was trying to distance himself from the common laborer.

At one point while I was photographing, I wanted to get an extreme low angle so I pretty much laid full down on the ground which was dusted with some dirt and stray cement. I do things like this quite often to get a shot, so I didn’t think anything of it. When I started to get up though and brush myself off, the supervisor – who I imagine had been watching me with some disdain – addressed me and said something about “dirty” while shaking his head and pointing to my pants. I looked down at the brown and white dusty patches on the navy fabric without feeling too much shame, and then looked back at him and shrugged and said “it’s worth it!”. Either he didn’t understand or simply didn’t approve.

I’ve concluded that I’m just not cut out to be any sort of upper-level supervisor in this lifetime. I’ll keep creating in my sometimes dirty Bengali drawstring pajama pants, thank you very much.

Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)
Bandarban, Bangladesh (Oct 31, 2009)

Photos taken in Bandarban, Bangladesh on October 31, 2009.