Monday, March 16, 2009


The world of Dhaka has slowed down again with the lights flickering on and off with power outages a common plague to this rapidly growing city. Sitting in my hotel's simple dining room, we often just continue eating with the lights out at dinner time. It must be a time of surging peak power use. No one rushes to get candles. We just eat our food in the dark until the lights return. The management runs out to turn on the generator, but this only powers the television not the lights!

I am watching AlJazeera English a great deal while traveling in Bangladesh. It is by far the most comprehensive source of news, and I rate it more highly than CNN or BBC. The channel gives me a window on the world where people live outside of the major capitals of Europe and Asia. The reporters cover questions of life and death in countries we never hear about,like Malaysia or Laos. Pakistan is a main focus right now, as they fight over questions of justices on their supreme court. Gaza and its life there is a major focus, but there is a great deal of coverage of Israel as well. I just saw an excellent story on the election in El Salvador, where they just voted in the center left opposition party for the first time ever! It is so heartening to see genuine participation in new and legitimate governments who seek to serve the disenfranchised.

My work proceeds in an exciting way, with one day of ecotourism training completed for over 30 participants, all learning about questions of ecotourism planning and management virtually for the first time. I will be visiting two of the teams in the field. We head to the Teknaf on Wednesday and will be reviewing our strategy there, but also doing a field analysis - looking at a new trail, places for developing traditional boat itineraries, and a world class beach trek. Bangladesh was named as one of the top 10 new countries to visit in 2009 by Lonely Planet, and this is putting some wind in our sails!

I look forward to reporting from the Teknaf.

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