Bangladesh Slideshow

23 June, 2008

Sun, Sand and Surf

We reserved an entire bus for the trip to Cox’s Bazaar. It was a Greenline Scania and was very comfortable.

We stayed at the Sea Crown. The view was undoubtedly the best in Cox's Bazaar!

The rooms were on the small side, but spotlessly clean. The service was prompt and the food was good. It was, on the whole, a good place to stay.

The next day, we headed for Inani beach and the Himchari waterfall. The road hugged the coastline, and hills rose on the other side. The place made me long for a beachfront cottage. Sigh!

It was a dreary kind of day, and the beach lacked its usual appeal.

We still had fun though. Beachfootball, nature catwalk, sharing food.

Himchari was next. The climb showed how unfit I was. But the view was breathtaking! And so worth the huffle and puffle!!

There were three waterfront cafés near the hotel. We made ‘Tropicana’ OUR café!

It had great food at affordable prices. And boasted local talent. We became regulars.

The famed Dulahazara had a nature reserve.

We saw black bear, crocodile, wildebeest and hippo. White peacock and spotted dear.

Said hello to the elephants. They had been tamed and were friendly.

The lion was taking a nap. He was just a big cuddly cat.

There was an angry monkey. With acres and acres of land all around, he had been placed in a very small cage. I wondered at the logic behind it.

The gang posed for a photograph.

Outside, there was fruit for sale.

We shared some with the four-legged locals. And played with them as well.

At Cox's Bazaar, the sea was inviting. The water was warm, albeit a bit (actually, quite a lot) on the dirty side. We still took a few dips.

We promenaded up and down the beach. Laughing with glee like children at finding pretty shells. Look, mine are better than yours!

Made some more friends.

After three days, we returned to Dhaka, invigorated and rejuvenated.

Mermaid Café

The Mermaid ‘beachfront’ Café at Cox’s Bazaar was highly recommended by our expat friends, with a warning that prices were on the high side - around Tk. 500 per person. Set up by a non-resident Bangladeshi, the café served seafood, grills and made available alcohol on request. (The latter is probably the reason for its popularity with the expat crowd.)

So we went to the Mermaid Chill n’ Grill Café one evening. The ambience was great, and we decided to dine alfresco.

The menu boasted mouth-watering dishes. The prices were a bit steep though. We perused both the grill and the sea-food menus and placed our order. They kindly agreed to bring the sea food orders from the other café a few hundred meters down the road.

The waitress looked familiar.

Meal choices made, some headed for a game of fussball.

Others sat and chatted. Or walked around. One got cozy with the waitress. Tut tut.

The blogging girl made friends with the housedogs. They had exotic names such as Black Forest.

Our orders arrived. The famished tribe tucked in… or tried to. The food was a grave disappointment. The grilled chicken was dry, the seafood pasta just okay, and the portions were small. The food came with rather strange accompaniments: there was grilled papaya and pumpkin, and the baked potato was sold separately! It was the first time I had western style meat with eastern style bread - garlic and spinach naans. Talk about fusion food!

And the bill when it came almost gave one diner a heart attack. She had ordered the lobster pasta for Tk. 525, and her bill came to Tk. 1575 because the price was per 100 gms and there was allegedly 300 gms of lobster in her dish. There was also a 15% VAT added on which made the price of the dish a whopping Tk. 1810!!!!!

The verdict: great ambience, good service but really really awful food. Just not worth it, mates!