I know, I know it has been a long time. The last time I posted images here (In a Fog) was at the beginning of what I expected (foolishly) to be an interruption of just a few months. Five months later, we are all still in that fog, wondering when life will resume in whatever turns out to be the new version of normality. And on top of the “stay-at-home, social distancing, no travel, collapsing economy,” we are finally acknowledging the systemic racism in our country, with many bumps in the road. So, this is all to say that my mind (and yours, I am sure) has been elsewhere. Also, the fact is, going back to the images I photographed before the pandemic makes me long even more for those far-out places that are not available now.
What stirred me from my lethargy was hearing recently about Bangladesh getting severely flooded, with more than one-third of the country underwater. This made me want to share some experiences I had there in January. This post is about the friendly people I met there and their life on the river. So, if I end up suffering from farsickness (yes, “farsickness” is a word; it is the opposite of homesickness) while writing this post, well, so be it–this pandemic has done much worse.
Bangladesh is a land of rivers. It is prone to flooding, but this year appears to be historic on that front. Adding flooding on top of the pandemic creates a hardship that I can’t even envision. During my visit in January, I spent time in the Barisal division in south-central Bangladesh. Its main city, also called Barisal (and sometimes called “The Venice of the East”), is one of the oldest river ports in Bangladesh. Naturally, fishing is how lots of locals earn a living. While there, I spent time on the rivers (there are many), which are densely populated by fishing boats and huge barges transporting teak wood. At one of the villages on the Bighai river, a small fish auction, the Chandra Mohon Bazaar, occurs weekly. Fishermen bring their catch, which they sell to “wholesalers” who will get the fish to local customers in the surrounding area.
The auction takes place in the early morning, so fishermen arrive in their boats soon after dawn. Then buyers arrive, some walking from nearby villages, others on a ferry. Most fishermen make use of an auctioneer who gets paid a commission. The fish are sold by “lots,” and the highest bidder pays a “banker” who records every transaction in a large book and hands a ticket to the buyer to claim his fish. Of course, there is a tea shop where people make a stop before going back their respective way.
I am not sure whether the people I met there were personally affected by the flood, but if not them, many fellow Bangladeshi who live a similar riverine life will have been.
Wishing them all a better time, France
You can follow me on Instagram at franceleclerc
Beautiful images and wonderful story. I often think of how the people we have met all over the globe are doing in this difficult world. Like you I have farsickness.
Thanks, Michele. Yes, things are not easy here but we know that they are harder for so many people. Wish we could help.
Pestilence and flooding, racism and police violence, disappearing mailboxes…I call it piling on. Great post, France. These are troubling times and some people have it so much harder than others.
Yes, Sally, crazy and unsettling times. And the uncertainty of what is next is what is getting to me. But I try to remind myself that many people have it much harder than me and that wallowing in self-pity (my tendency) does not help anyone. One day…
I actually feel guilty that we have it comparatively easy!
Yes, I am guessing we all do. And at a loss as to the best way to help.
Captivating and beautiful images France! I love the vibrant mix of colors in the Bangladeshi clothing and supplies. Thank you for sharing❤️
Thank you Jeri, Glad you enjoy the images. Hope you are all well, I’ll be in touch soon. 😘
I look forward seeing you France👏🏽👏🏽
Time will tell if misogynist Trump’s fascism will be flushed down the toilet. But the evil genie is out of the bottle. Your photos are beautifully evocative. I, too, am going through old photos in lieu of safaris. We had so many plans, now mothballed. Stay safe. Elise
Hello Elise, yes, life has been quite different in the past 5 months. I guess as long as we are safe and healthy, we are the lucky ones. Hoping things improve after Nov. 3rd but who knows. 💕
France – the new website is beautiful ! Love the design !
And thanks for this new story helping us remember that we have been so fortunate to meet so many people and see so much of the world. My heart breaks so many times these days as we see the immense suffering many are enduring.
Thanks, Ivy. And yes, we are fortunate to have met so many people and also to be able to stay safe and healthy in our comfortable home, even if it is for much longer than we would like. Sure wish the rest of the world would have the same option. 💕
Your visual story telling is always amazing!!!
Thank you Piper. Always nice hearing from you.💕
Yes, time for re-assessing some of our values. Many thanks for the visual travels again !
Indeed, life can take many unexpected turns. At least we have our memories.💕
Wonderful, empathic photos France. ❤️ Yep, I also travelled in Bangladesh, 1977. Probably
have mentioned that before, sorry. Learnt sooo much from the wonderful Bangladeshis. I remember telling people, who had practically adopted us, how fantastic they were, giving money, and food, to their locals, sitting close to their home. I had never seen that before. They thought I was silly. 🤷♀️ It’s obvious! Of course, we all share and look after each other. 🙄. I have never forgotten the humanity I both witnessed, and experienced. Plus, the Bangladeshi vitalness, and humour. And France, you always capture the essence. ❤️
Thank you for sharing your experience, Helen. I can absolutely understand how you felt. It is nice to be surrounded by people who care about their community, not something we see as much in our (at least my) part of the world. And it seems like the people haven’t changed much in 40 years. You are right to treasure those memories.
Felt like I was there. .wonderful sequence.. love the fog.. the mood.. the symmetry.. poetic.. strong shots as always..better days ahead!
Better days ahead, let’s hope so. Thank you, Herb!
Wonderful photos France, making it easy for me to imagine being there amid the early morning busyness. I too have farsickness, and also still many stories and photos to share of earlier travels.
One day we will travel again . . . . .
Thanks Alison. Yes, it is great that we have these wonderful memories to cherish. Who knows what is next, life is sure full of surprises!
Great photography. Specially how you described the inside story!
Thanks for visiting and taking the time to read. Glad you like the story. Warm regards, France
Nice work France. I like the variety in subjects as well as compositions you selected. I was also in Bangladesh in January covering and shooting some different industries new Dhaka but also fishing fleets in Chittagong and south of Cox’s Bazar. Like many other places on earth, they get by with what they have making the most of it.
Thank you, Bruce. Yes, I went down south as well in a previous visit. Barisal is a bit different because it is not directly on the Bay so the types of boats and fishing techniques are adapted to rivers and canals. Beautiful, kind, and hardworking people everywhere, though. Best, France
I found this incredible website in the footnote of MISBEHAVING and the photos taken by u seem much more attractive to me compared to your husband’s book.😂
Thanks for your kind words and for visiting. Not surprisingly, I like my photos, but I also quite like my husband’s book. Be well. France
Beautiful series, as always… Thanks for sharing these pictures, France!
Hope you and your family are well.
Nice to hear from you, Frank. Yes, we are all healthy so far, but the stress level is high. Two more weeks!!!! Warm wishes to you and yours as well. XX France