News from the Columbia Climate School

, , , , , , ,

Tiger Footprints and Dhaka

Tiger pugmarks (footprints) in the tidal channel.  Our guide estimated 5-6 hours old.
Tiger pugmarks (footprints) in the tidal channel. Our guide estimated 5-6 hours old.

For our last morning, we did a dawn silent boat ride up a tidal channel. Since the students did one the day before, a few sat out. The ones that remained stayed silent to increase our chance of sighting animals. We saw many birds: kingfishers, kites, egrets and others. There were numerous mud skippers – fish that come out of the water to avoid predators – and a wild boar. The highlight was sets of fresh tiger tracks. The first set came down one bank and up the other. Tanjil, our guide, estimated that they were 5-6 hours old. After returning to the ship, we headed north through the Sundarbans towards Dhaka, a day and a half journey.

silenttboat
We silently sailed up a tidal channel early in the morning to look for wildlife

Along the way, we had a quick stop at a small village along the Baleshwari River. Chris Small had noticed that the width of the villages in this area had doubled between 1989 and 2010. We wanted to find out why. A small party went ashore to talk to the villagers. Unlike Polder 32, the water here is fresh and it shows. Lots of trees and a more prosperous and happier population. Boys jumping

Chris interviewing Bangladeshi farmers about the history of the area
Chris interviewing Bangladeshi farmers about the history of the area

into the creek from the top of the sluice gate. The trees included betel nut, papaya and other fruit trees and well as trees for wood. The local policy is that for every tree they cut down, they plan 4 new ones. This accounts for the increased size of the villages, a net switch from rice field to trees. After only a ½ hour, we had to return to the boat, drop off Carol and Saddam where a car would take them back to Khulna, and continue on our way.

We decided not to stop for visiting Barisal or swimming and thus were able to get to Dhaka the next afternoon rather than at night. Instead of spending the night on the Kokilmoni on the polluted, smelly, Shitalakshya River, we went into Dhaka and back to the Ambala Inn. More importantly for the students, we arrived with time to

Walking back to the ship after a successful visit to a prosperous Bangladeshi village
Walking back to the ship after a successful visit to a prosperous Bangladeshi village

shop. After checking in, we formed groups of 2 US and 1 Bangladeshi and sent them off by foot and rickshaw to New Market for shopping. The lack of shopping opportunities was the main complaint about the trip. They made up for it with clothes for themselves and presents for friends and family. That accomplished, we gathered for a final dinner in Bangladesh at Voot, one of our favorite restaurants. The slow service with cooking for 22 allowed plenty of time for socializing and picture taking. The students showed off their new Bangladeshi togs and a good time was had by all.

The next morning was our chance to see Dhaka. We met our counterparts the university and headed to Old Dhaka. We stopped at the 800-year old Dhaleshwari Temple where a child was getting

Our last group photo on the bow of the Kokilmoni in our Bangladeshi cricket shirts
Our last group photo on the bow of the Kokilmoni in our Bangladeshi cricket shirts

her first solid food in a Hindu ceremony. Then on to the Lalbag Fort built by the Mughals in 1676, or so we thought. Sunday is its day to be closed. We decided to go to the Ahsan Manzil, known as the Pink Palace. As we drove through the narrow streets, traffic got slower and slower. Finally, we stopped and decided to walk the last quarter mile. Now we all got a true taste of Old Dhaka, dodging rickshaws, hand trucks, pedestrians, and workers balancing parcels on their head. We managed to get all of us there and toured the grounds overlooking the Buriganga River then the massive palace built by the Nawab of Dhaka in 1872.

After the chaotic walk back to the vehicles, we spent an hour going the few kilometers back to Dhaka University. When we finally got back, we

A baby receives her first solid food in a ceremony at the Daleshwari Temple in Old Dhaka
A baby receives her first solid food in a ceremony at the Daleshwari Temple in Old Dhaka
olddhaka
Walking through the crowded, narrow streets of Old Dhaka was an intense experience

had to abandon our plans for visiting the National Museum. We went to lunch at a very Bangladesh restaurant, picked up our luggage at our hotel and headed to Aarong. It is an upscale shop that sells all Bangladeshi clothes, crafts and products. The students got their last fill of shopping. Satisfied with their gifts, we headed to the airport. They went home, while I started my next leg in Kolkata and Aizawl, India.

Our last group photo on the steps of the Ahsan Manzil in Old Dhaka
Our last group photo on the steps of the Ahsan Manzil in Old Dhaka
Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

1 Comment
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
fridge freezer sale
8 years ago

There is a lot of wild life in and around Dhaka where you will find amphibians, reptiles, birds and other mammals. The Bengal tiger is the national symbol of Bangladesh and tigers are well cared for in this region. Your journey looks amazing and the pictures are fantastic. Great post!

1
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x