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Cox’s Bazar, and my final day in Bangladesh
July 30, 2009, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Bangladesh, India

Note: This post was written before I left for Dharamsala, but I never had the chance to post it. Please read this as if you have been transported back in time to a week and a half ago. Thanks friends!

My last weekend in Bangladesh, I went to Chittagong (the second largest city in Bangladesh) and Cox’s Bazar (‘the best beach in SouthEast Asia’- this will later be refuted) with five French interns. Yes, I was the only American. Yes, I learned some essential French phrases this weekend (“Your Mom is crazy”).  Taking a seven hour bus ride to the middle of nowhere with five other French speaking people? Classic. Basically when we arrived in Chittagong at 5 AM I ended up sleeping the day away because the bus ride was the most uncomfortable experience EVER.

Cox’s Bazar… is supposed to be the big ‘tourist’ destination in Bangladesh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I went. The beach is actually relatively clean (by Bangladeshi standards), and it was nice to spend the day feeling a cool breeze on my face. However, it was quite literally going to the beach, Bangladeshi style. Everyone stared at us like we were aliens. Hawkers came by every two minutes with jewelry, coral, horse rides, beach motorcycle rides, you name it. Every other two minutes beggars came along. People would find excuses to sit by us so they could stare at us and discreetly take pictures of us on their phones. Truthfully, I almost feel like I’m starting to get an inkling of what a celebrity must feel like. When you want to just ‘get away for the weekend’ and not be stared at by continuously- it’s impossible, even in Cox’s Bazar.

Bangladeshis are always trying to get foreigners to vote Cox’s Bazar as one of the ‘seven natural wonders of the world.’ Okay, first off, the smell is overpowering (and not pleasant), the ocean is the dirtiest I’ve ever seen, and to call it ‘the best beach of SouthEast Asia’- obviously these folks have not been to Thailand. But I am kind of going on a complain train here so I’ll end with- Cox’s Bazar was nice and it was nice to visit, but the hassle getting there and back was not worth it, and if you come to Bangladesh I would highly recommend the tea gardens (Sylhet) over Cox’s Bazar.

Then I spent my last day going out in style- getting ripped off by CNG drivers, sitting in traffic for two hours sweating in a tiny corner of a taxi, and getting some intense food poisoning for my final meal. It was almost like Bangladesh wanted me to experience the worst things possible about Bangladesh on my last day so I could appreciate India even MORE when I got here. Now I am in Delhi, at the Tibetan Refugee Settlement (Majnukatilla), slurping on a banana smoothie and readying myself for a grand 13 hour bus ride. Dharamsala, here I come!

Much love,

Brittany


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