Looking Back to Asia

Buddha in the Shwedagon (Free Yoga Photo) by Elliot Telford

Remembering 15 Weeks in Asia

I feel very lucky to have gotten through the entire trip throughout Asia without more than a couple of bruises and an empty bank account. India and Thailand were the highlights of the trip and Kathmandu, Nepal and Myanmar both beckon return journeys of significant lengths of time.

The trip began in Mysore India in late January and ended in mid-May flying out of Hanoi, Vietnam. Most of the below photos are from the first three months of the trip in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand… enjoy!

PS: You can click on the photos for enlarged images, they are big

Cast Bronze Shiva for sale by Elliot Telford

Cast Bronze Shiva for sale
Strangers in Dhaka by Elliot Telford
Strangers in Dhaka
A Poor Smile by Elliot Telford
A Big Impoverished Smile
Poverty in Bangladesh by Elliot Telford
Poverty in Bangladesh
Dhaka city street by Elliot Telford
Dhaka city street
Dhaka Bangladesh by Elliot Telford
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Homes in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Homes in Mysore
Village in Dhaka by Elliot Telford
Village in Dhaka
Neighbrohood Alleyway in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Neighbrohood Alleyway in Mysore
Rickshaw in Bandladesh by Elliot Telford
Rickshaw in Bandladesh
Buddha in the Shwedagon by Elliot Telford
Buddha in the Shwedagon
Temple in Nepal by Elliot Telford
Temple in Nepal
Spires of the Shwedagon by Elliot Telford
Spires of the Shwedagon
Kathmandu, Nepal by Elliot Telford
Kathmandu, Nepal
Dhaka Street by Elliot Telford
Dhaka Street
The Shwedagon by Elliot Telford
The Shwedagon
Monks at the Shwedagon Pagoda by Elliot Telford
Monks at the Shwedagon Pagoda

IMG_9552

Mysore Hindu Temple by Elliot Telford
Mysore Hindu Temple
River in Thailand by Elliot Telford
River in Thailand
Street Construction in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Street Construction in Mysore
Alleyway in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Alleyway in Mysore
Gangsters in Kathmandu by Elliot Telford
Gangsters in Kathmandu
Laundry in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Laundry in Mysore
School kids in Kathmandu (pre-earthquake) by Elliot Telford
School kids in Kathmandu (pre-earthquake)
Indian man thinking by Elliot Telford
Indian man thinking
Indian man riding bike by Elliot Telford
Indian man riding bike
The Jois Shala Wall
The Jois Shala Wall (practiced here for 3 months)
Mysore Alleyway by Elliot Telford
Mysore Alleyway
South Indian Construction by Elliot Telford
South Indian Construction
Mysore River by Elliot Telford
Mysore River
Gokulam Coconut Stand by Elliot Telford
Gokulam Coconut Stand
Chakra House in Gokulam by Elliot Telford
Chakra House in Gokulam

Nightmare in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh, Children

Dhaka can be a nightmare. It was for me a few days ago when I forgot all of my things except my passport and phone (which I only have for pictures and music) and got lost in the city for a solid 11 hours straight. I thought I was going to have to sleep on the streets.

Have you ever done something really, really stupid, immediately regretted it, then gone on to fix the bad decision for the rest of the day? That was my Saturday. I haven’t prayed hard in a long time, I’ve never begged on the streets, or hard to use my yoga in such a necessary way. The amount of stress going through my system was unbelievable and I’m still moving through a good amount of it.

It started Friday night, when I learned that Biman Bangladesh Airlines cancelled my layover flight to Yangon and expected me to stay in the airport overnight, which is complete bullshit (an unexpected 14 hour layover with no lodging?) Avoid the company if you can, it was an awful position to be in. But luckily, a spanish family living in Dhaka offered me to stay with them instead of a hostel, insisting that it was necessary because of the conditions in Dhaka. After experiencing the brunt of India, I thought ‘ how bad can it be?’ It was awful.

Getting lost started with wanting to go take pictures at 7:30 after doing a little yoga in the morning (I didn’t finish my practice, which is a little weird), then about 5 minutes into my short walk, I was completely lost. I hadn’t taken the time to recognize the buildings around me so I had no landmarks that I was familiar with. I probably walked around and near the building I was staying in for a solid 2 hours before beginning to panic a bit at 9 because my flight was at 12:30 and I like to have 3 hours before my flight. So I started to jog around run a little to try to cover ground faster. I stopped at 11:30, exasperated, realizing the gravity of the situation that I was in. To add to the panic, Dhaka is one of the poorest places on the planet, and lots of my walking around the city involved walking on sandbags to avoid the sewage flooded streets.

I decided to try to see if I had properly remember the address of the family I was staying with and took a rickshaw, since I was on my last resort, even though I couldn’t pay him unless he took me to the right place. He ended up taking me all the way across town in the wrong direction, until I ditched the took-took in traffic because I couldn’t pay (yeah I feel guilty, but I had literally nothing to give the man). I was so dehydrated that my mouth was completely dry and a man offered me water from a used bottle, that I only took one sip of before knowing I couldn’t drink it. I went to a stall and literally begged the vendor for water, which he unexpectedly gave to me.

I began to get completely hopeless wandering the streets, looking for anything that might help me and praying my ass off for some help. Then I met a girl named Anna, from Colorado and I literally begged her for help as well. After seeing how dire my situation was, she agreed to help me and  took me to her school where she taught english, where her friend helped me to look for the apartment on Google street views. After realizing how little I could recognize, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get back by myself. Anna and I spent the next 3 hours roaming the streets, looking for anything that looked familiar. We looked through the areas for what I thought I remembered and then decided to try the different clubs in the city where westerners hang out (because the city is Muslim, there is no drinking allowed in the city). The first club was the international club, but we had no luck there. Then at the second club, around 5pm, we finally found some people who knew the people I was staying with. They made a few calls to figure out where their address was, then they drove me to their house. I will always be so grateful to everyone involved in that trip, and Anna really saved me that day! Something I really did not expect to happen. What a restoration for my faith in humanity!

So that was probably the worst day of my life. It’s so easy to say in retrospect, but the panic and fear that I felt during those first 5 hours will never be forgotten. So be careful if you ever visit Dhaka, the place is not easy to get around in. The city is a maze, the people are always trying to be helpful and will absolutely point you in the wrong direction because they have no idea where you are looking for, and very, very few people speak english.

The only things I had with me were two cameras, so enjoy the photos!

Dhaka Streets_3Dhaka Streets_4kids in Dhaka1Dhaka marketDhaka Streets_5people of Dhakarickshaw DhakaDhaka Streets_7 swamp in Dhakatea stand in Dhakakids in field in DhakaDhaka Streets_6leper in Dhakakids in Dhaka2Dhaka Streets_2Dhaka Streets_1child in Dhaka

 

 

 

 

Kathmandu, Nepal

View of Mountainside, Kathmandu

This is a photo-only blog. Enjoy!

Dusty Kathmandu Street
Dusty Kathmandu Street
random student in uniform
random student in uniform
Smiling Child
Smiling Child
IMG_9582
chicken.
Market
Market
Beggar
Beggar at the Monkey Temple
Nepal's 7-11's
Nepal’s 7-11’s 
Monkey!
Monkey!
more students
more students 
Kathamandu, Thamel Streets
Kathamandu, Thamel Streets
Nepalese trashcan
Nepalese trashcan