Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bangladesh: In Search of Armenian Church

The 3-week vacation was winding down oh so quickly, I checked my very short list of what to see or do in Bangladesh and I found out that I've only checked one of them (which was to see Cox's Bazar - the side trip to Tecnaf was the proverbial icing on the cake). Having only 2 items on my list, I was hellbent on checking the last item on my list and that is to see the century-old Armenian Church, which I found out existed via a fellow blogger Peachy. Peachy is a Filipino expatriate who found employment in Dhaka, of all places. Not only did she find job there, she also found her Bangladeshi Prince. They are due to marry any day now. So romantic!

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No elbow room.

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It's faster to walk than to take the bus.

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Kid hitching a ride on the chicken cart.

Anyway, just like our other outings my SIL didn't go with us. With me were all men guards - husband, BIL, cousins + little nephew. I don't remember the day we went to seek the church, but the streets were jampacked with people. No room for elbows even. My BIL mentioned to me that in 2000, the population of the city was around 2M, presently it's doubled he said. I asked him if all of the 4M were out on the streets today, because it felt like it. It was suffocatingly scary. I had to hang on to husband's arm for dear life. (Wiki said presently the city has 7M people, and the metro area has 12M people.)

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Kid bus barker.

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Old Lady.

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Breathing room, you say?

We took a taxi from home and traveled to a part of Dhaka that I've never seen before. The roads are wider, although not without traffic jams and there were more greenery. I was told this is where the foreign consuls live and work. No wonder.

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Iftar food roadside.

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More fried food for iftar.

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People rush to buy breaking fast food.

I don't really know why we stopped where we stopped, but we did. From there we walked a ways to get to another taxi, except that there were just people on the road and buses, no taxis. Even the rickshaws were unwilling to take us to where we wanted to go. Until I saw a horse carriage. First time to see one in the streets of Dhaka and first time to ride in one. The reason why there's a lot of people out is that it's Ramadan. Every one wants to leave the city and go to their respective hometowns to celebrate Eid.

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Posing at the entrance of the church.

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A little hazy sky.

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Late P.M. sky.

My nephew was excited to ride a horse drawn carriage, a first time for him too. Then we reached the end of the line again and we had to take another form of transportation. This time we managed to cajole rickshaw drivers to take us there. We were in 2 rickshaws. No one seemed to know where the Armenian Church is, many don't even know there is an Armenian church in the city.

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We got lost, but thank heavens for cell phone we managed to direct our rickshaw driver to find the church. It's the part of Dhaka that is really unseen. It's so raw, so organic. The rickshaw passed by marketplace where there was no road but he managed to pass. It was an adventure.

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Finally we arrived at the place. It's locked, but online tips tell people to seek out this particular guy who holds the key and he will let you in. We gave a donation for his effort, hope it goes to the church. The guy was not difficult to find, especially since my companions all spoke the language.

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Cousin who lives nearby met us at the church.

Unfortunately the key keeper could not let us inside the church, which was also locked, because someone else holds the key to that. We would have to be content with the compound, looking at the church from outside.
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26 comments:

  1. Great shots. I love the one of the child hitching a ride on the chicken crate. I would have trouble walking in a crowd like that.

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  2. So many people!! I avoid crowds in the US, don't think I could manage them anywhere else either!! Terrific captures! I, too, love the child on the chicken crate!! Terrific captures for the day!!

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  3. Great post!
    Happy SWF to you!

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  4. Fantastic photos and interesting post for SWF!Thank you for sharing and have a nice weekend!

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  5. Wow, thanks for the awesome tour. Great people shots and the church is beautiful. Happy Skywatching!

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  6. An amazing place, I can't imagine being in the midst of all those people. Great shots!

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  7. OMG that is really scary, it looks like Chinatown here in Binondo during Chinese New Year. But i don't go to places with lots of people. I am amazed that you can still click your camera and get wonderful and funny-unusual shots despite the odds. What is so spectacular about Armenian Church for you to brave that scene? Anyway, thanks for the tour.

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  8. Whoa! The crowd... like I see here in India! I like to visit such old churches.

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  9. That is lot of people. Wonderful set of images.

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  10. That is a beautiful looking church! Great pics, but oh, so crowded!

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  11. The church is so mesmerizing...

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  12. what a fantastic adventure! i couldn't imagine how you managed to take photos in the crowd. and i noticed there's a lot more men than women in the crowd. why is that?

    amazing there is an Armenian community in Dhaka. the church is a great find! i love graveyards!

    a former officemate has been working in Bangladesh for about 5 years now--she manages a garment factory.:p

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  13. Wonderful shots. Happy sky watching.

    My sky.

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  14. You took us on an amazing visit to this crowded land. Excellent picture series. I'm glad you made it to the church.

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  15. Thanks for sharing this adventure! You got wonderful pictures and the series tells us so much about the city. Just amazing.

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  16. You're a braver soul than I to venture into such huge crowds. Not fond of crowds no matter where I am. So thanks for the tour of a place I'm not likely to visit on my own. I admire your persistence in visiting the Armenian church.

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  17. WOW!! What an interesting blog; pictures are excellent. Thanks for sharing. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

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  18. I'd have a headache wading through a crowd like that. It's amazing how you got the shots you wanted without you getting elbowed while stopping.

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  19. What an interesting place. Your photos are full of feeling.

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  20. OMG! I would probably forget i was looking for the armenian church if thats how the street would look like.

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  21. Your photos may not be "Ansel Adams" but they are really great!
    I cannot imagine being in that crowd of people. Their eyes reveal anxiety I think...too many people.

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  22. I would definitely want to go see that church, Maria, if I could avoid all those mobs of people. Astrid would get claustrophobia, I'm afraid!

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  23. I love your photos and narration!
    Exotic and crisp!
    I should frequent this travel blog besides your Frankly My Dear photo blog.

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  24. I would enjoy seeing this church, and especially the cemetery. It also looks like the most quiet place in the city! I cannot imagine the crowds!

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  25. I love the street scenes! Walking in busy streets is a must everytime I visit a city in a different country, especially in those I, as a westerner, consider exotic.

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  26. the street shots were perfect but
    what draws me further was the inside of the church,
    i don't know why,
    but i still have an eerie sense when it comes to cemeteries/graveyards/tombstones.

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