Bright pink Bougainvilleas peeking in from a corner reminding you that you are finally home in Bangladesh. These paper-like flowers have been a constant in every Bangladeshi’s life including mine. Imagine my delight when I found a Bougainvillea tree at my in-laws’ terrace! I could sit beneath it for the whole day without a care for the world. 🌸🇧🇩
Out of the city and into the greenery of Bangladesh's tea region! This is a tea estate outside of Srimangal town in northeast Bangladesh.
I explored this area by bicycle, and the experience was interesting to say the least.
You'd think the apocalypse had come the way people reacted as they saw me traversing the countryside alone on my bike 😂
Some boys heckled me from roadsides and rickshaws as they zipped past. Others nearly ran me over as they tried to snap selfies in motion from motorbikes.
Some women stared intensely with disapproving looks on their faces. Others were delighted to see me ride past, waving hello and pointing me out to all their girlfriends.
Many people asked me where my husband or brother was, disarmed and distraught when I told them I'm unmarried and my brother is back home in the United States. They told me not to cycle far, it would be too dangerous for me.
Older men politely inquired as to why and how I was riding a bicycle, informing me matter of factly that Bengali women do not cycle. I can't say I saw any female cyclists to disprove them during my time in Srimangal.
It was disconcerting to encounter such reactions to something as simple as riding a bike. I took cycling for granted (especially after living in the Netherlands) but I was reminded not all women have that luxury.
Uncomfortable truths like these are a part of traveling. The most lasting and personal are often encountered in the places we least expect them.
I'm often unsure how to respond. Do I take them as a sign to appreciate my own life? Attempt to bring about change or influence others? Accept that I'm a visitor in a foreign land and there's nothing I can do?
These are predicaments I find myself in increasingly often. No answers for you today, only questions. ✍️＋📷: @lostwithpurpose
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