Wednesday, 6 November 2013

My Favourite Cultural Experiences

(So far, and in no particular order)

Watching Buddha's Birthday parade in Georgetown, Penang

While having drinks in a bar in Georgetown, on my first ever backpacking
 trip, suddenly a huge parade complete with models, incense, and music 
went by. I went into the crowd to ask about what the occasion was, and 
discovered that it was Buddha's birthday.

Celebrating Dipawali with new Nepalese friends at their home in Kathmandu

After arriving in Kathmandu during Dipawali (Diwali), we made friends with one of the 
hotel staff. In fact, we still keep in touch now. Dipawali lasts for several days, and our 
new friend Deepak invited us to his home for the Brothers and Sisters day of Dipawali.

Going to a music and culture festival in Bakoteh village, The Gambia

This was an event organised by a Gambian man from the village who had moved to 
Sweden, where he was in the music business. He had returned to his village to put on
this festival for the people there, and to also make a film about it in order to promote 
knowledge and understanding of Gambian culture. The festival was an interesting blend 
of modern and traditional music, and traditional dancing and other cultural practices.

Getting traditional Tajik clothes made at the market in Dushanbe

While living in Dushanbe for part of my last job role, I really admired the traditional ladies' 
clothing. After asking around, we realised that the ladies buy the fabric from the markets, 
and then have the garments made up at local tailors. We decided go on a trip with one of our 
in-country counterparts to buy fabric from the market and then get measured up for 
traditional clothes at the tailors. We were so happy with the results that we even 
went back for more later on!

Being taught how to knot carpets in Tunisia

While exploring a souk in Tunisia, we came across a really interesting carpet shop with a 
lady demonstrating techniques outside. There weren't many tourists about, so I was able 
to sit with her for a while as she showed me how to tie the knots for making the carpet.

Driving a tuk-tuk in Kandy, Sri Lanka

While walking through Kandy we met a tuk-tuk driver. We didn't need a ride at that time, 
but we arranged to meet him the next day for a trip out of town to see the nearby area. 
He was a fantastic host, and took us to several places that we had not known about at 
no extra cost. We bought him lunch, and he gave us driving lessons in his tuk-tuk!

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