Gorgeous Luang Prabang Waterfall

Walk up a waterfall and swim like tarzan in the jungle… at the Kuang Si waterfall near Luang Prabang, Laos.

The big waterfall... better to be breathless at the bottom than at the top.
One of the surreal colored pools.
George of the jungle...
One of many swimming holes on the walk up to the big waterfall.
Meet at the banana fritter stand when you get lost.

Just one reason that Laos is gorgeous!

Hand Made Paper

One part of being a “good tourist” is visiting organizations and shops run as non-profits. In Luang Prabang, Laos, we saw paper being made by hand. Every stage of the process was visible and it seemed like the job was not the worst in the world… “what do you do all day?” “I make paper with flowers on it.”

Hand made paper drying in the sun.

Laos was filled with gentle smiles.

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The Organic Grocery of Dhaka – Southwest Gardens

Road 108, House 11, Apt. 102 on the second floor.
Road 108, House 11, Apt. 201 on the second floor so behind the tree.

*** As of August 2013, the new location is Road 108, House 11, Apt. 201*** Organic vegetables in Dhaka? YES! And organic fish, eggs, flour, and rice. The shop is spare in decor with fridges filled with green onions, basil, spinach, etc. The shop has kohlrabi, carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbage, etc. There is a freezer for sea bass, snapper, chicken and so on. I asked the grocer how often he gets his goods delivered from the farm (located to the south on the riverbank) and he said that the delivery is fresh every day.

Flurry photo of the sign by the door to Southwest Gardens.
Flurry photo of the sign by the door to Southwest Gardens.

Tucked away (like many things here in Dhaka) on a road parallel with Gulshan Avenue behind where the Wonderland amusement park once was located, is the organic grocer of Dhaka. The previous employee, Laurence, has been sent off to India to open the shop there. The shop is located in an apartment building. You cannot park in the building but there is plenty of parking on the street. The shop is on the same floor as a spa with has red signs. It is open Tuesday-Saturday, 9-6. The new location has less character and appears to have a tailor connected to it.

Handwritten address... with phone number.
Handwritten address… with phone number.

Kerosene Rickshaw

The night in Dhaka arrives around 6 pm. It is pitch dark on some streets (the potholes and dogs are only some of the obstacles). In Baridhara, the rickshaws are required to have a light on their rickshaw at night. Currently, they use open flame kerosene lanterns attached underneath the seat of the rickshaw…

Rickshaw is in the middle.

I wish that they would be retrofitted with pedal power LED lights… maybe there is an organization out there with this plan? Also, since rickshaws are extremely decorated, it would be nice to have reflective material used as part of the decoration. Just a thought.

Eco-Tourism in Dhaka?

The drums of global tastes have reached deep in the diplomatic enclave of Dhaka. I admire the owners for knowing their audience. The Mermaid Cafe in Baridhara is an eco-cafe outfitted with free Wi-Fi, cane furniture, funky artwork, and the other backpacking eco-warrior accoutrements. Located near a mosque, the cafe is a warren, nay, a medieval old city of room upon room upon room. The entrance has a tiki bar, pools of water carved out of tropical woods where turtles live as pets, and where are the dreadlocked backpackers?

Mermaid Cafe is known for their fresh lemonade as tart as Bangladeshis are sweet. I got the Wild Banana Shake (of course!) and the Thai Chicken with Organic Rice and Beans. It was all excellent. I look forward to trying the rest of the menu.

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This cafe is part of a tourist company and resort down on the coast of Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazaar (a favorite honeymoon destination for Bangladeshis). Cox’s Bazar is the location of the world’s longest unbroken stretch of natural sand beach in the world… 75 miles long.