Nestled between India, Nepal and Myanmar, lies the unique country of Bangladesh – a country that very few tourists know about: the land of smiles, the land of the royal Bengal tiger, the season of kites battling each other in the sky, the paradise waiting for bird-watchers to visit, the acres and acres of tea gardens mingling with waterfalls nearby, the numerous tribal villages with their unique customs and way of life, the longest beach in the world – the list goes on and on.
As soon as I caught my first glimpse of this beautiful beach, I knew that my time in the Philippines was going to be magical. That first glimpse of cute beach resting huts and swaying coconut trees spoke volumes. I simply couldn’t wait to get to shore and explore.
We had encountered choppy waves at the Small Lagoon, but it started getting a little bad by the time we reached the entrance of the Big Lagoon. Once we got there, our guide once again gave us two options: kayak or swim. However, this time, even the confident swimmers looked wary. One tour-mate even decided to just photograph it using his drone and not even bother venturing into the water. A few of us decided to brave it – with kayaks, but even that proved to be a bit of a challenge.
A short boat ride later, our Bangka set anchor at what looked like a tiny secluded beach. We looked back at our guide with surprised looks. What were we supposed to do? Where was the Secret Lagoon? He pointed to a rock on the left side of the boat, roughly 20 metres away. “Go. Swim.” That was all he said.
Supposedly, King Bladud (father of Shakespeare’s King Lear) contracted leprosy and decided to leave and travel the countryside, while disguised as a swineherd. One day, whilst travelling the Avon countryside, Bladud noticed the pig bathing in warm spring water, subsequent to which they appeared to be cured. Deciding to take a chance and follow their example, Bladud himself bathed in the hot spring water and found himself free of leprosy.
A quick evaluation and several detailed discussions later, this is the conclusion we reached: the 1 and 2 star tours were not safe for a variety of reasons: it was likely that they would not deliver what they promise; the boats themselves were of questionable quality and therefore subject to accidents like fire or sinking (we witnessed one such incident firsthand ourselves!).
Birishiri, a small town located in the Northern region of “Netrokona” in Bangladesh. The buzz and attraction about this place is mainly because of the crystal blue water in one of the lakes there, which is caused by erosion of the ceramic hills surrounding the lake.
At this point I was tired and fed up of his attitude so, with my arms crossed and a “I don’t give a crap anymore” look, I told him firmly that he had two choices because I was not going to pay him – he could either take me back to the airport or else he could take me to the tourist police.
The sound of the anchor woke me up to my next beautiful morning in beautiful Greece. I headed up to the deck to (once again!) find myself completely besotted with the GORGEOUS blue sky and the GORGEOUS water! It was just so damn GORGEOUS! I mean, did I mention how GORGEOUS it was? I did? Good! Because, like I said … it was simply nothing short of GORGEOUS!
Curious, a little online digging revealed that this was a “love” hotel. Needless to say, paranoia and (ahem) the noise, kept me up till 6 a.m. The full length wall mirror opposite my bed didn’t help either!
What greeted me the moment I opened my eyes in the morning, was sunshine. Fantastic, fabulous, glorious sunshine. And the clearest blue sky I could imagine. I didn’t know it then, but amazing sunshine and clear skies were to accompany me during my entire 22 day trip in Greece.
The second island on our itinerary was the beautiful island of Hydra. Piece of advice – do NOT miss out on Hydra. The island is gorgeous and it simply mesmerized me with its beauty. There were several yachts parked at the marina, which meant that we had to park alongside another boat and jump across three boats and a barge to reach land. Not exactly ideal, when you are wearing a skirt!