Wednesday, October 22, 2008


For our end of term break I went on a fabulous cruise with Guide Tours through the Sundarbans. It is a fascinating ecosystem in the brackish waters and silty, ever-changing land that is the delta of 5 major rivers, including the Ganges. The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world. (and of course, being in Bangladesh, is endangered... but the Bangladeshi government is trying to protect it... and seems to be doing better with its section of the forest than the Indian government) It's also an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The water acts as an amazing mirror- as you'll see in the photos. But actually, the water seems to be diluted land- and is filled with rich silt (and all those ashes/ bodies being dumped in the Ganges and other rives in India, Nepal and Burma/ Myanmar.. mm. swimming with the dead... actually, not that bad) and is swirls of brownness. the land is dehydrated water- squishy, liquidy silty stuff that surprisingly holds together with the help of fascinating trees that slowly change the water silt into arable land for other plants- no small trick since the water and land is constantly receiving salt from the Bay of Bengal.

I had a lovely 4 day cruise- of relaxation, exploration and more relaxation. It was amazing to see this luscious , beautiful and diverse land. It was amazing to get our of dirty Dhaka, and see the land that is Bangladesh. People are forbidden to live in this nature reserve (I mean who would want to live in slit that is constantly moving and be tiger food?- but a good many people try anyway because land (even the kind that sporadically disappears) is a commodity here in Bangladesh.

I'm inspired- I'm going to try to use my 3 day weekends to get to some other corners of Bangladesh.

1 comment:

DiamondShoes said...

Those look wonderful! When I showed these pictures to my co-workers, they recommended I read 'The Hungry Tide' by Amitav Ghosh as it's also set in the Sundarbans. I'll look for it this week!