Sunday, August 5, 2012

Amin Bazar & Gaabtolly New Cattle Market

This past week I had the opportunity for a photo outing with a fellow photo loving friend. We drove west out of Dhaka on Mirpur Road to an area called Amin Bazaar, along the Turag River. This area is where barges or open hulled boats offload their goods from upriver. Most of the commodities through here are construction materials: rock, sand, bricks and coal. Workers earn about 1-2 taka (keep in mind 80 taka makes $1 usd) per basket they deliver. In the middle of the acreage is a cattle and buffalo market.
(above l to r- boss paying chips for baskets, boss man, mechanics, washing up)
(bottom 2nd from left- counting chips from carrying baskets)  

We were quickly accompanied by many workers curious to why 2 young white women would be in this area of town. Though we weren't afraid for our safety, it was quite intimidating to have so much attention so quickly. Shortly after, rain started in, which was actually good timing. We were near ready to bail from our excursion, due not only to the rain but mostly the extreme attention, when we headed out of the alleys toward the car. In our excitement to take photos, we headed out without an umbrella. As the rain thickened, a merchant in one of the sand offices invited to come in for a seat and wait out the rain. His invitation graduated into the best opportunity of the day.

As the rain fell, we were oogled upon. While the merchant and we ladies chatted in English, about 25 spectators gazed upon us and giggled from time to time. We spoke of the operations here at Amin Bazar, America, traveling, our thoughts of Bangladesh and more. 

Eventually we came to the "Can I ask you a personal question? Are you married?" A few in the crowd had finally persuaded Roni to ask the question.

It's always interesting to speak marriage here. Much of the region, here and in India and Pakistan, practices the long tradition of arranged marriages. For minutes we spoke of our marriages, her and mine by love and his by arrangement, and of our children.The rain lingered on as we dreaded the untimely curtailment of our trip. As we were such a spectacle, we knew when the rain stopped that we should head out. The attention was not good for us and the interruption to work was not good for the merchants or the workers.

And then out of my mouth, "We hope we aren't interrupting your day. Are you very busy?"
He was not and was happy of our accepting his invitation to sit.
And then I asked if he'd walk with us, show us around the barge area and the nearby cattle market.
My friend may how thought I'd fallen off my rocker, but it became a welcome extension to our outing.

(above/below: The young man in black kept eye contact with me from off the boat until 
I couldn't see him anymore...made for a couple memorable photos)
And so, after 2 attempts to outsmart the rain, we journeyed around the yards. The mood lightened with us and the workers. Having a man beside us completely changed things for the better. Many exchanges of pleasantries and hellos or "where are you from"s were tossed around as we walked.

We ventured again along the riverfront activity and meandered through the cattle and water buffalo market. I was pleasantly surprised at the good care for the animals at the market. They were being fed beautiful healthy grasses, being bathed and well cared for. The stalls were continually being cleaned.

(above left- our gracious impromptu guide)

And many beautiful faces filled our lenses.  I dread next week when our car leaves Bangladesh and my excursions come to an end. Photography is my drug here in a land of such colorful subjects.


  1. Love the post and thanks for the shout out :) Your pictures turned out beautifully - I especially like the one of the guy who you said kept eye contact the whole time. It was such a great trip - we'll have to do another one soon!

  2. WOW! What an opportunity! What stunning photos.


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