The view of the hazy early morning air through the window of my hotel on the morning of day 3. Bangladesh ranks 169th (out of 178 countries) in the Environmental Performance Index for Air Quality.
I decided to go for a run but immediately regretted it with the bad air and crazy traffic and only managed a few kilometres.
Breakfast at the hotel after a good hot shower.
I had a relatively lazy day today, driving to Jessore and then flying back to Dhaka. There was the option to take a 10 hour train ride back to Dhaka instead, but I opted for the slightly less adventurous flight to Dhaka instead.
Up on the hotel rooftop swimming pool where I went for a dip.
And looking down onto Khulna city below.
At 10:30am I checked out of the City Inn Hotel and met up with my guide, Popul, for the ~90 minute ride to Jessore airport.
We arrived ontime at Jessore Airport where I thanked Popul and my driver and bid them farewell. The airport was quite small and had 6-7 flights a day to Dhaka.
Boarding the Novoair ERJ-145 just before 1pm. Jessore Airport is also used by the Bangaldesh Air Force and some training aircraft were parked under open hangars.
I luckily had an exit row seat so plenty of legroom despite the small plane.
A decent snack box was served despite only being a 150 kilometre flight, complete with 'Twitter' brand biscuits.
After a smooth landing at Dhaka Airport, I headed through to the taxi desk again for a ride into town.
As it was the weekend the 15 kilometre drive took abit less than two days ago, and I arrived at the Fars Hotel just after 3pm.
Upon checking in, they said that they had found my credit card. Apparently it had fallen out of my money belt when I was getting out my cash to pay Mr. Awal in the lobby for my tour two days prior! I thanked them profusely and then went up to the 14th floor to my room for tonight.
I then went out to the Liberation War Museum, which was only a short walk around the corner from the hotel.
The museum commemorates the Bangladesh Liberation War, when then East Pakistan, aided by India, fought and gained independence from West Pakistan, resulting in the formation of Bangladesh.
Pakistan was originally formed in 1947 from two distinct areas, East and West, separated by a thousand miles and India.
There were significant disparities between the two parts of the country. Bengali, the main language of the east, was not given official status. Despite having a larger share of the population, East Pakistan had a lower share of seats in Parliament and was allocated less than 30% of the Federal budget.
In 1971, the Pakistan Army launched Operation Searchlight with the aim to take control of major East Pakistan cities to curb the growing Bengali independence movement. The operation also began the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities where many Bengali's were systematically killed.
The war led to an estimated 10 million refugees flooding into the eastern provinces of India. A concrete pipe on display that was similar to that used for shelter and sleeping in refugee camps by East Pakistani's who escaped over the border.
Resistance was at first spontaneous and disorganised, but quickly grew along with support from India.
The tail section of a Pakistani Air Force Canadair Sabre jet fighter that was shot down by the Indian Air Force.
On 16 December 1971, Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, commanding officer of the of Pakistan Army forces, formally surrendered. Over 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered to the Indian and Bangladesh Liberation forces, the largest surrender since World War II.
After the war, Bangladesh sought admission in the UN with most voting in its favour, but China initially vetoed this as Pakistan was its key ally. The United States, also a key ally of Pakistan, was one of the last nations to accord Bangladesh recognition.
Pakistan finally recognized Bangladesh in 1974 after pressure from most of the Muslim world.
After the very interesting dose of history I went for another walkabout through the streets and alleys of Central Dhaka.
I was still a little hungry after the light lunch, so had some tasty Rasmalai from a street stall.
Back at the hotel where chilled I out on the hotel roof, looking down on Central Dhaka below.
In the evening I went to a local restaurant and had some spicy chicken, naan bread and coleslaw for dinner.
After the decent feed I went for a random wander through the streets again.
The rickshaws certainly outnumbered all the other vehicles!
Cigarettes and tea.
After the wander I headed back to the hotel to get some rest for an early morning start for my last day in Bangladesh tomorrow.
Up early just before 7am on the morning of day 4. For my last day in Bangladesh I had organised a private photography tour of Dhaka.
After checking out of the hotel I met up with my guide today, Masbah, and then went for a short drive to the Kawran Bazar.
The Bazar was mainly a wholesale one, and hence the need to arrive at the early hour to see all the busy morning action before it petered out a few hours later.
Stripping the leaves from the caulifowers.
One of the numerous porters who can be hired to haul away the fresh produce.
Loading the truck.
Wrapped up for the early morning chill.
Everyone was quite tolerant of the intrusive tourist interrupting their morning routine.
Buying coconuts as the sun started to get higher in the morning sky.
A gentleman pausing from his busy morning just long enough for me to take his portrait.
The market was established in the late 18th century by Karwan Singh, a Marwari trader.
Inspecting the merchandise.
One of the few ladies in the Bazar.
You had to give plenty of room to the porters as they couldn't easily step around you with the heavy loads on top.
After the frenetic, fun and exciting morning at Kawran Bazar, we drove through the early morning traffic to Old Dhaka, and had breakfast of daal and paratha at a local restaurant.
Energised after the simple but filling breakfast, we headed out again, this time through the streets of Old Dhaka and Chowk Bazar.
Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr giving her endorsement to a local plasticware brand.
A colourful minaret in the distance as we continue our walk.
Up at a second floor shop to take in the view of the busy street below.
Fresh meat for sale at Mowlovi Bazar.
Stopping to rehydrate with some coconut juice as the day started to warm up.
After another short drive, we arrived at Islampur Road, the largest wholesale clothing market in Dhaka.
A rally going on for upcoming trade union elections.
Islampur Road is the largest wholesale clothing market in Dhaka.
Nawab Bari Pukur, a small pond in the middle of Old Dhaka.
We then walked down to Sadarghat-Gabtoli Road next to the river, where cargo was being unloaded and put onto trucks for its next destination.
We then went down to the water to catch a small boat for a ride along the river.
My guide, Masbah, with an umbrella to keep off the hot afternoon sun.
Looking over to southern side of the Buriganga river.
Workers chipping away the old paint of a ship under repair.
A couple making their way across the river.
After the cruise along the river, we headed ashore again at Sadarghat port and walked north through the streets. The old water tower at Bahadur Shah Park. It is now a memorial for soldiers killed by the British in the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
It was almost 2:30pm, so we stopped for a lunch of rice, chicken and curry at a local restaurant.
This was the end of the photography tour and it was almost time to head to the airport for my flight home. I had a few taka left, so I got Masbah to take me to a local shop for some sweets to take back home.
Horse and carriage, which is still a popular means of transport in Old Dhaka.
We had to allow for up to ~3 hours in rush hour traffic for the drive to the airport but fortunately it took only took half that. I then said farewell to Masbah and my driver and thanked them for a great last day in Dhaka.
It was still an hour until check-in opened so I watched some Netflix on my iPad.
After I checked in and got my boarding pass, I had to go to another Flydubai desk to have my passport checked again. I guess they have regular document issues with workers flying to Dubai.
The Flydubai lady then directed me to get a new boarding pass. My seat was changed from 2C to 2D, which had extra legroom since there is no seats 1D-1F in front and was a nice surprise.
After passing through immigration (where the officer checked if I had a visa for Dubai, which was a first since the airline normally only checks this) I headed to an airside restaurant for some mediocre fish and chips for dinner.
About 40 minutes before departure we boarded a bus for the short ride to the plane. There were airport workers walking on the road (due to lack of designated foot paths) in the dark and a car reversing into the path of the bus, so the bus driver was constantly hooting the horn, just like back in the city!
And about to board the Flydubai 737 at the end of an amazing trip to Bangladesh!