Open the panorama below and you might be wondering, “Is that really Bangladesh??”
In scenes like this one at the indigenous market in the town of Bandarban, it's easy to forget which country we're visiting. Bandarban is part of an area known as the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). CHT's rolling hills in southeastern Bangladesh are home to over fifteen indigenous groups, many of which have their origins in far eastern India, Burma and Southeast Asia.
While the market had some unusual features for one in Bangladesh — a monitor lizard butchered to bits at the river's edge, a huge pig sawed in half mid-market, massive sting rays hanging on hooks, and sacks jumping with plump frogs — something else stood out. Women.
Women were everywhere – as vendors, buyers, connoisseurs of cigars, and among the out and about. While the presence of women may not sound terribly profound, their absence from other markets and many facets of public life here in Bangladesh has been noticeable. And we've missed it.
So at the Sunday episode of the Bandarban indigenous market we enjoyed the opportunity to sit with vendors (men and women), throw around a few words in Bangla (didn't really help), use charades to communicate some more, learn the local names of vegetables, and share a few smiles.
When you open the panorama below to full screen, be sure to use the down arrow to catch the colorful action on the ground.
360-Degree Panorama: Weekly Indigenous Market in Bandarban, Bangladesh (Chittagong Hill Tracts)