Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bangladesh: Call of Nature

Visiting Bangladesh has not only given me the chance to reconnect with family and friends. It also enabled me to be around familiar smells and sights that can only be experienced in a tropical country. One familiar sight that I had long forgotten is this red bug. A welcome reunion. I don't know it's name, but I've met it long ago, in the land where I grew up.

When I spotted it, I didn't think twice about giving them my full attention and space in my memory card. Can anyone help me identify these red bugs that are commonly found in the tropics, but haven't seen them here?

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First it was just this one.

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Follow its journey.

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Destination reached.

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So where now?

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Going over the edge.

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There's more underneath the leaves.

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Are you doing what I think you're doing?

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I think these two are doing what I think they're doing.

Seeing these familiar bugs whose existence I have long forgotten because they were out of sight was such a joyful experience.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Bay Area: From East Bay to Napa and back again.

One Sunday in December we found a little free time - in between church time and company Holiday party and so we filled it with a little drive to Napa, where else. We did so because we missed our leaf peeping drive this year on account of our Caribbean trip. However, knowing how late the Fall season starts in this part of the globe, we were hopeful we'd be able to get some leaf peeping done still. What we did not put into account during the planning was the weather. It was rainy and wet that day and the days leading up to it. We went just the same.

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We were disappointed initially because it seemed that the rain had all got rid of the leaves. And so we continued to drive until we reached Yountville and took the exit.

We stopped when we spotted this building that housed boutiques.

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After browsing, I was in a hurry to get across the street to finally get to see and taste what's in store at BOUCHON BAKERY, which is Thomas Keller's store.

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Since I was going to a company party (more eating) we just bought a tart and croissant filled with fruit instead and a cup of coffee to go.

On the drive back, we took a different route and stopped to photograph what we found interesting.

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And then we found some left over fall leaves.

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Our final destination for the day was the yacht club for our company party. Just couldn't help but take a shot before going in and fraternize with co-workers.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bangladesh: National Martyr's Memorial

Perhaps there is nowhere more exotic than Bangladesh that this blog will feature or had featured, and probably none of the blogs that I follow or read will feature. Because let's face it Bangladesh is not in any one's bucket list. It is a beautiful country and the people are warm and friendly. However, in my opinion it is not ready to receive tourists just yet. The natural resources are available for exploration, but the infrastructures are not.

I'm the lucky one I'd say, I married a Bangladeshi. And because of that I got to visit this interesting place on the map.

This begins my documentation of my 3-week vacation from last August.

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The National Martyr's Memorial (Jatiyo Smriti Soudho in Bangla/Bengali)is built in memory of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, which brought the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistani rule. It is located in Savar, about 35 km from the capital city of Dhaka.

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The Monument tower designed by Arch Syed Mainul Hussain is composed of seven isosceles triangular planes, each varying in size in its height and base. The planes are folded at the middle and placed one after another. The highest point of the structure reaches 150 feet. Several mass-graves and a pool of water body are placed in front of the monument.

Monument complex is spread over an area of 34 hectares (84 acres) wrapped around by a green belt of 10 hectares (24.7 acre). Concrete is used for the monument tower while red bricks is used for other structures and pavements. Water pool and the platform for laying wreath are placed in front of the monument while mass-graves are on both sides. From the main gate one can see the monument axially, but to reach there one has to walk through different levels of red pavements and cross a lake - all these representing the struggle for independence. [source]

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

When Good Food Calls

Travel Channel and travel shows are mainstays in our tv viewing schedules. We particularly love Anthony Bourdain's shows (No Reservations, Layover) and keep an eye on the places he visits so we can visit them too. He's been in San Francisco on these shows and in one of them he visited a liquor store in the Mission that serves good Cuban sandwiches. So when Tony says the food is good there, we must go check it out for ourselves.

This happened a year ago and I'm so behind in my blogging. I remember about this now because the visit to the little liquor store was during the San Francisco Giant's Fan Fest which I blogged about here.

The Mission District is one of the most colorful neighborhood in the city, full of shopping and eating establishments.

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That's It Market is located at the corner of 23rd and Mission. Wasn't difficult to find.

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They have different kinds of tortas (sandwiches). We chose one with variety of meat.

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She adds eggs too. It's not for the dieters.

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Then it's ready to eat :)

While the torta was being prepped, I went outside and spied the wall along 22nd Street. The mural was pretty neat, as with the other murals in Mission.

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Enjoyed the torta at the Fan's Day.

I have not returned for another torta, I'm still trying to burn the calories I've ingested from that one sandwich :)



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Free Meals at Sikh Temple

Do you know that you can get free meals (lunch and dinner) at a Sikh temple near you? That's right. You can.

I have quite a few Indian friends. Some of them belong to the Sikh religion, but the ones who don't belong to the religion were the ones who told us about the free meals. And so every chance we get, we go to get free meals. They have donation box, so you can drop some cash into it, if you're feeling a bit guilty eating free meals when you can afford to buy one for yourself.

Feeding people is a ministry to them. Every day one family takes charge of feeding any visitor that comes. Honestly, each time we go, my hubs and I are the only non-Indians who eat there.

The last time I ate at a Sikh temple was when we went to Capitola for a day. Our friends told us about this Sikh temple in San Jose, supposedly the largest in the United States. They suggested we stop for lunch here since it was on the way to Capitola anyway.

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The Gurdwara Sahib's facade.

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Fountains are lit at night we were told.

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Inside, looking at the main door to the worship area.

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On a Monday, it was almost empty.

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At the dining room.

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Blue skies on that day.

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If you live close by, stop for a visit. They welcome and feed every one. The address is: 3636 Murillo Ave San Jose , CA 95148.

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