I had to visit the Michelin-starred Yauatcha in Kolkata’s high-end Quest Mall. Prices are around a third what you would pay at its twin/sister restaurant in London. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and still on the look-out wherever I go for the champagne/rose tea served there.
Special shout out also goes to the Bohemian Restaurant at 2/4, Old Ballygunge Place, 1st Lane, Kolkata. It’s a cab ride away from the mall. The menu includes enticing sounding dishes such as mutton and baby potatoes simmered with green mango and okra; prawn and crabmeat dumplings stewed in spicy Noler Gur reduction; jumbo prawns stewed with field grown herbs; mutton simmered with baby cabbage and fresh fennel served with steam rice and wilted greens; shall I continue? Main dishes are around 500 rupees (USD$8).
Their home designed signature cocktails aren’t bad either, including the pictured Just Bohemian made up of Nolen Gur (Bengal date palm jaggery), ginger and dark rum. Cost around 230 rupees (USD$3.5). At this price, it’s tempting to go for more than one – but they are potent, you have been warned.
At the start of 2017 I said that I wanted to travel to Asia and Asia-Pacific that year. From May I got to work in reporting and public information for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (or, more simply, OCHA) in South Asia (Pakistan and Bangladesh).
At the beginning of December and following these busy assignments I decided to make my way around India, Australia and Thailand for the first time visiting Kolkata, Sydney and Bangkok. Three weeks later I was back in London spending a lovely Christmas break with my 84-year-old Mum, my brother and his family.
Then I hit the road again in the first week of 2018, taking in Phu Quoc, Ho Chi Min and Hanoi in Vietnam; Colombo and Galle in Sri Lanka; and Bali, Indonesia where I am now. It’s actually cheaper to be here than expensive London, whilst waiting for my next assignment, plus I get to miss all that city’s tiresome cold winter.
I like the song that blasts out from the Vietjet flight on landing in Vietnam (the link below will take you to the YouTube video).
Dry, hot city. Wafts of diesel and food combined hang heavy in the air. Cars, motorbikes, rickshaws pile noisily back to back in densely congested roads. Street hawkers weave expertly through traffics of people and vehicles, whilst children scurry among the crowds, clutching goods for sale instead of school satchels. Welcome to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Back with UNICEF for six months, this time in Dhaka. Lots of writing, lots of getting out to meet partners from international and local NGOs (such as the impressive BRAC), as well as talking to Bangladeshis inside their homes and work places about their lives and experiences with UNICEF supported projects.
I also spent a chunk of time visiting schools, including one where I had to give an impromptu ‘inspirational’ speech to the children at their prize-giving ceremony. They were very gracious – I felt like a UNICEF Representative for all of my two hour visit there!
I also got to work with a strong, hardworking and fun communications team at UNICEF Bangladesh. Click here for one of the newsletters we produced.