Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Down With the Gaza Wall

Photo by Kevin Frayer via Time.

And yeah, these are pretty fucking awesome as well.

Photo by Kevin Frayer via Time.

Photo by Mohammed Saber via Time.

Afghan Women Protesting

Now this is pretty fucking awesome.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rickshaws in Chittagong

Hanging Moon

Driving over the Pulaski Bridge at midnight, the deeply yellow moon hung so big and so low that it looked more like an overly-decadent building light instead of a big ball of rocks up in space.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Suharto's Death

Before former Indonesian president/dictator Suharto died today, I read an article yesterday about the pairing of Islamic mysticism and former rulers of Indonesia, or as Seth Mydans puts it, old Javanese kings.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country. One of the rules that I learned during my early and short years at Islamic school was that idolatry was harem, forbidden. I remember one story where someone, might've been Allah, destroyed an entire room full of statues for worship.

But this idea of mixing Islam with the "spiritual world" as the article says doesn't coincide with the Islam that Indonesian terrorists seem to push for, no?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Water, Water, Filthy Water

Look at all that water flowing into one of the rivers of Dhaka.

When my family and I went to Bangladesh back in 1995, we weren't as cautious about what we ate and drank as we should've. Remember, Bangladesh is a still-developing country, and its water system isn't exactly all that great. So, we all got very sick at various times, being shuttled back and forth between various doctors because our immune system, to used to the American way, couldn't handle the Bengali way.

This time, my dad, after making sure we all had our shots, made sure that we drank nothing but either bottled water that we could trust (because who knows what people put in bottles, slap a label on it and call it "safe") and cooled, boiled water. Our dishes were even washed in boiled water and we didn't drink water at other peoples' houses if they didn't know our requirements.

I talked to Rob about this yesterday and he told me about the first time he visited Pakistan. He went with two "germaphobes" (his word), a doctor and someone else I can't remember right now. They'd wash their hands and scrub down everything, in fears of catching something horrible. This got on Rob's nerves so one day while they were eating in a restaurant, Rob ordered an entire pitcher of tap water and drank it by himself. He was later rewarded with amoebic dysentery.

Imagine drinking that.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


During the trip, we went on a mini-trip to Cox's Bazaar and Chittagong, Bangladesh's major port city. My mom is obsessed with shutki, or dried fish and so this was heaven for her. Pictured are shutki from St. Martin's, an island located at the southernmost point of Bangladesh, near Burma, but my mom bought her stash from a market in Chittagong. I myself never ate shutki because I had a traumatic experience with Bengali fish when I was younger, but it makes for good pictures.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lighting Bridges

If I were an electrician, I'd want Ben Cipriano's job--working on bridges. Imagine the views he must see. And I'll give Jake Mooney credit--this is a great story, like the kind of stuff I'd like to write. All I need to do is actually go out there and write it, no?

Monday, January 21, 2008


I want to go back.

My cousin, a freelance photographer and amazing one at that, traveled around South Asia, hitting India and Bhutan, among other countries. I asked him which country was his favorite and he said India. I asked why and he said India was like the entire world wrapped up in one country: you have the tropics in the south, the plains, the cold mountains of the north, you have different major religions and languages and so much more. There is a reason why it's called a subcontinent.

Around the Lake, take dui

Around the Lake

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bengali Working Day

[I'm back in New York, so I'll write something about the trip later because I'm lazy.]

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fishing in the Rivers

Riding Rickshaws

Flying Back Home

I took this picture while flying over Iran, sometime between December 27 and 28. Tomorrow night, I get to fly back the same way all the way to New York. It's going to be weird coming back after spending a month here, but I'll survive. And, anyway, I'm coming back in May.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

In Bangladesh

We flew over Iran at night and outside, I saw scattered clumps of light. Then, I saw the sun rise over the blackened outlines of sand dunes and/or mountains (not sure which), the horizon lined bright bright orange. I wanted to be down there so bad.

Bangladesh is crowded.

My dad says human life here has no value and it shows: kids and people walk and run haphazardly across streets with no lanes nor stop lights, streets filled with cars, rickshaws, baby taxis, buses and just other people. The air is constantly thick with exhaust, dust and other assorted goods.

Development is booming here--there are billboards boasting of luxury apartment buildings and new storefronts everywhere. Homes are everywhere. There are buildings in unfinished states, their pillars standing alone, supporting nothing at all.

It's different from what I remember.

Even my father's home is different--instead of the expansive one-story floor, with many rooms and the roof where I kept a secret hiding place, it is now one-half of that home, the other half another aprtment for another family, and on top, there are more apartments.

It's disappointing.

In lighter news, I did get to go on a boat ride with my cousins. The river was nice (I forgot the name, but I'll get it later), and the boat was low. It was perfect.

It's unnerving how much people stare. I don't know if it's because it's normal to stare or because it's so obvious that I'm American, but it's hard to get used to. When I travel in the summer, I'm going to wear salwar kameezes because it's just easier that way.

I'm at my cousin's place right now--the only place I've been to that has internet. There is more I want to say and show, but I don't have my pictures or notebook with me now. I'll save that for next time.

Till then.