It's taken me a couple of weeks to get this post to you, mainly because I needed to filter through 300 images from our trip and edit each one that made the cut. Funnily enough, after two slow weeks of trying to check it off my list, I managed to get it all done this morning over a cup of tea..
I'm calling this a 'photo journal' because I want to take you through [most of] our trip place by place, and help put the images into context. So, here goes!
14th Jan 2018, Sylhet
We'd landed in Bangladesh the night before, and spent the early hours of the next morning browsing out front whilst everyone else was asleep.
The air was slightly cool for the first few hours of the day, and a blanket of fog had draped over the trees. It looked like something out of a media production, except it was serene. The city was still asleep. This time of year is what they consider winter - but for us Brits, it's more like spring.
16th Jan 2018, Dhaka
Dhaka. Chaotic - and it's allowed to be, with loud chockablock streets lined with buildings and institutions which scream 'elite'. Dhaka wants to be noticed and you definitely can't ignore it at 3am when blaring horns fuel your exhausted hotel-room insomnia.
A gruelling two hour drive from the airport brought us into Dhanmondi, a plush residential area with all the comforts you could expect from an area which houses the Prime Minister. Now, if you want views, Dhanmondi definitely doesn't disappoint..
Dhanmondi Lake is admittedly delightful, a winding body of water enshrouded by trees and greenery, with fascinating views throughout the day - especially from a rooftop. Interesting fact, the Lake reportedly occupies 16% of the entire Dhanmondi area. (Also, spot the bridge - above.)
18th Jan 2018, Sylhet
Within a few days, we were back in Sylhet for an engagement ceremony (or sinipan); chefs cooking outdoors on an open fire the night before, the courtyard decked out with seating and decorations in rich vibrant style. The next day saw rice, curries and fresh handpoured yoghurt served to guests in generous batches - and yes I can confirm, it tasted fantastic.
21st Jan 2018, Sylhet
There is something about Sylhet which makes you feel whole again. But then I would say that, given that that's where my roots are, and where I remember my late grandfather reading his morning paper over breakfast when we used to visit during the holidays. There is a humility to this place, integrity and respect for hard graft, the brilliant smile of someone who lives with very little but his heart is large enough to contain the entire cosmos.
And somewhere beyond the small merchant stalls and fruit vendors, Sylhet offers a slice of a more luxurious escape; there are a fair few hotels and resorts (see Almas Hotel & Resort below and left beneath that), capitalising on the lush green surroundings and the abundance of authenticity.
I couldn't resist including a glimpse of our trip to Ronikhail (above and left), a more rural part of Sylhet which is undeniably serene - and where a relative of ours showed us his red-eyed rabbits and various species of birds.
24th Jan 2018, Moulvibazar
My first time in Moulvibazar was saturated in colour; the metal wardrobe workshop (right and below), the coconut palms and a bittersweet tribute where once-loved books were laid out thoughtfully across the courtyard, once again to be held by human hands and touched by the light of the sun.
25th Jan 2018, Sylhet
The brilliant red sun piercing through the trees; I took this last shot as we drove through a village in Sylhet, with our last full day in Bangladesh drawing to a close. The next day would start our journey back to quieter lands, where we'd miss the merchants selling their wares at the gate, and the sound of rickshaws jostling along with their bells ringing in the distance.