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     Volume 7 Issue 38 | September 19, 2008 |

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Foy's Lake Journey

Hana Ahmed

For some time now, Dhaka has become an unliveable city. Among many factors, the most frequently cited are the never-ending traffic jams that invariably bring you to your destination a few hours late. The only good thing one does achieve in the hours spent stuck in traffic is perhaps finish reading that 800-page novel. So when I was asked to visit the Foy's Lake theme park, I looked forward to a few days away from the madness. My three year old was a few times more enthusiastic than me at the prospect of skipping school for a day. And what better way to spend time away from school than to jump around in a water park.

Although I had travelled through Chittagong a couple of times before, I had never actually visited the city. The houses and apartments on top of little hills were a welcome change from the crowded Dhaka look. Less people, less traffic on the street and the beautiful hills, I could almost live in Chittagong if not for the fact that it is an even more conservative city than Dhaka.

L-R: The beautiful cottages at the Foy's Lake resort and the boats that to take you cruising around Foy's Lake.

The idea of Concord's theme park is similar to Singapore's Sentosa Island, although a few times smaller in size and scope. The colourful shops with their Disneyland bricks at the entrance of the theme park got the kids excited in the early morning, and they almost held their breath in anticipation of what was in store.

Rides inside the Resort.

Since it was still very early, we decided it was best to get some rest before heading out to explore the resort. We were informed that we would have to get to our cottage with the help of a boat! No complaints there we thought. We had to change boats once, because the first one wouldn't start (the engine was down because of the cold). What was in store for us was rather grand. The resort has cottages with four rooms each, and chalets right in the middle of the lake. We were taken to our cottage 'Gold', which has fairly big rooms and balconies with a beautiful view of the lake. We spotted two monkeys climbing down the hill. But before we could reach for our cameras, our shy primate friends had disappeared. Deprived city-dwellers that we were, the sight of a kingfisher swooping down to catch a fish from the lake had us mesmerised for quite some time. If one has a little money to spend on a weekend getaway, Foy's Lake is definitely worth the retreat.

After spending a few hours at the cottage, we went for a cruise around the lake. This artificial lake was constructed by the Assam-Bengal railway in 1924 near Khulshi not far from the Pahartali Railway Station. The lake was created by erecting an embankment across a narrow valley from one hilltop to another. We were told that there were many deer in the hills. If there weren't kids to manage, the place would have definitely been worth the trek.

The only place kids were interested in going to was to the Sea World. Because it was Ramadan, there were hardly any visitors to the water park. Not all the pools were well kept, perhaps because of the fact that there were hardly any people there during Ramadan. The wave pool was fairly clean, but it was apparent that the water in the kids' pool hadn't been changed for a long time. For those who love the water and are adventurous enough, they may love to spend a nice summer's day here.

After a mouth-watering lunch at the Lake View restaurant, we went for a siesta back at the cottage. Anondobhubon Park was to be our evening's visit. Ok, I'm a bad traveller and I have yet to visit most of the country's cultural heritages. But after visiting “Mini Bangladesh”, I could at least be satisfied to have seen Paharpur, Sona Masjid and Kantojir Mandir. There was also Ahsan Manzil, the Supreme Court, the Sriti Shoudho and Sangsad Bhaban in this miniature country. The houses of Chakma, Garo and other indigenous people were also there in miniature sizes.

The entrance to the Amusement Park in Foy's Lake(left). Having fun in the water at Sea World(right)
The revolving restaurant overlooking 'Mini Bangladesh'.

I was eagerly anticipating the visit to the 'Top of the World' revolving restaurant. Not because I was hungry, but because I was curious to see the view from the only revolving restaurant in the country. A revolving restaurant first started functioning in 1959 on Florianturm (a TV tower in Dortmund, Germany) . However John Graham, a Seattle architect and early shopping mall pioneer, is credited as the first to come up with this idea when he created La Ronde on top of an office building at the Ala Moana Shopping Center, Honolulu in 1961. The building remains stationary and the diners are rotated on the revolving floor, which allows them to enjoy the panorama of the city without leaving their seats. The tower in Chandogao, Chittagong is 71 metres high and the restaurant itself is situated 52 metres above the ground (commemorating the 1971 war of liberation and 1952 language movement respectively). The set-up gives a bird's eye view of Mini Bangladesh, part of the Karnaphuli River and a small part of the beautiful city of Chittagong. If anyone is visiting the restaurant, it is worth visiting twice, once in the daytime and once at night -- which is what we did and were mesmerised both the times.

The Eid and holiday season is here, and not everyone will be able to afford to go abroad for their holidays. The Foy's Lake resort and theme park provides an alternative for families that want to get away from the exhaustion of Dhaka life, Foy's Lake provides an exquisite alternative. Besides the Water Park and Dry Park, there is also a mini-zoo at the entrance of Foy's Lake. But visitors should remember that our environment is ours to protect. Unfortunately other visitors we saw seemed eager to have fun, but not at all eager to shoulder the responsibilities that come with this. We saw bottles and cans floating in many places around the lake. The service staff at the resort were also slightly nonchalant about cleanliness. If we want to enjoy the beauty of Foy's Lake for a long time it is essential that we (both visitors, and the management of the resort) keep the area clean. Otherwise it will turn into a dumping ground and eventually start to resemble Dhaka.

For reservation and enquiries on Foy's Lake Resort call:8833786, 9896482

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