We journeyed by mini-bus from the Canadian High Commission (yes, it was 7 Canadians and moi) to the airport in Dhaka, by turbo prop airplane from Dhaka to Sylhet and by 2 private vans from the Sylhet airport to the Nazimghar Resort. All the while, my ears were tuned to the ladies, but my eyes were enjoying the view.
Day 2 would be the highlight of our visit. Breakfast was followed by a drive to the river, where we boarded the resorts small boat which led us for more than an hour up and down the Sharee River to the border of India. The water was an unbelievable turquoise. Though I'd seen pictures online and in my guidebooks, I wouldn't have believed it existed in Bangladesh, had I not seen it with my own eyes. In several shallow spots, you could see to the bottom.
Life was vibrant along the river, people boating, washing and busying about on their days. Upon asking the night before about tea production, our charming host had arranged an impromptu visit to a stunning estate along the river. There was a small crew processing the previous season's crop, while several people trimmed the fields and a colorful group of ladies transported water to the processing area. We received a brief overview of the process from field to teacup. As we left the estate, the owner's elephant and mahout wished us adieu.
Vans transported us from the Lalakhal Resort to the town of Jaflong, where our destination was the Khasi Punji Village across the river. We walked from the vans atop the hill, down to the waterfront, where we boarded small boats to cross the river. Crowds gathered around us, taking photos and asking us about ourselves. This area doesn't see a lot of foreigners, and our group of Caucasian women was an oddity. As we arrived on the far side of the river, you could see the char (land exposed in the low season along the river) villages, which would be gone once the next monsoons arrived. It's amazing to see how many nomadic people still live in these temporary char villages.
While out and about, the hotel had arranged for masseurs to meet us upon our return for foot/leg messages. As their regular spa employees were gone, they hired ladies from a local villages, bracing us with the fact that they had no idea of the quality of services. Basically, we had a lovely 30 minute foot scrub, as really no massaging went on. And with our lack of Bangla language to discuss this with them, we just nodded and smiled. Chock one up to an experience for conversation. I had brought 2 tubes of henna/mehendi paste, so I asked if anyone could mehendi our arms. So we salvaged our time with the ladies by getting some beautiful artwork done.