If you find Dhaka city boring, you are not the first. After all what is there to do? Go to Busundhara City? Visit a CD Shop and buy a couple of DVDs which you will throw away after tonight? Or maybe you are completely at a lack of place to take your girl friend to? Frustration building up at your cruel metropolitan lifestyle? The makers of Jamuna Resort have the solution!
IF you think this is another pointless resort ad, heck you are wrong! The first time I visited this place, I was amazed at how much this place is “for us”- if you know what I mean. Jamuna Resort is a Holiday Resort about 80 kms from Dhaka, at the base of the Jamuna Bridge. I am sure all of you have seen it and mistaken it for some hip private high security property, on your way to Rajshahi or Jamuna River. It's not the first resort of its kind in Bangladesh but it's by far the best and the manager claims it to be the largest in South East Asia. (It's built in over 400 acres….and since land comes cheap that far away from the city, expect it grow bigger)
Jejuna Resort started its operations about one and a half year back. It always was there, even right before the actual construction of the Jamuna Bridge, but the commercial activities of the resort are rather recent. It has all the facilities you expect from any modern resort. But it would perhaps be more appropriate to call it a sports resort. Inside you will find a full sized basketball court with lighting, two lawn tennis courts, several badminton courts, cricket fields, two football fields. This is just inside the facility. Surrounding the facility are more basketball courts and football fields. And if you are a man short, the staff would be happy to 'help' you play!
Wait, you can also get the full assortment of indoor games ranging from table tennis to billiard. For the health jocks there is also a fully equipped modern gymnasium and the manager adds that there are plans to open a spa soon. Jamuna Resort also boasts a rather fine swimming pool, although it is highly unlikely that any one of you would actually swim in that pool .For one thing, the water is green… and in my book swimming pools shouldn't have green water. But that's because this is an off-season and the swimming pool isn't fully operational yet.
Jamuna Resort isn't all for the action packed machos. If you are a rather placid natured dude, you can grab a fishing rod and fish in their private pond…ok lake. Or you can just sit by the shore and contemplate all the stuff, you placid natured people do. There is also a rather grand museum, much to my amazement. The museum has all the things “Tangaili”. Like stuffed animals and local flora and fauna.
If you love animals, there is a horse stable there too. Or at least that's what it says in the advertisement. In my own snooping around, I asked the staff, where I can see the ponies. Umm apparently it's not available right now. But don't worry you will have plenty of stuff to do.
The most popular attraction of the whole Jamuna Resort seems to be the River Cruise. The resort itself extends to the edge of the river, so you have a grand spot just to hand around and see the beautiful Jamuna Bridge. If you are adventurous and not scared of the currents of the mammoth Jamuna you can actually go under the bridge. If you are lucky you might just spot Dolphins. It's an exciting cruise. I don't have to tell it to you again, but Jamuna is a really nice river to be floating around in; alive.
Now let me come to the real dirt. The best part about Jamuna Resort is the feeling of 'getaway'. The resort is designed as a mini-paradise. All the buildings are cottages so there is no resemblance of urban Dhaka sprawl. The facilities are amazing and the staffs are more than well trained. Standard Rooms are Tk 3250 and a two bedroom cottage costs 6000 Tk.. This offers minimum four beds and so is ideal for a family outing. If you are planning a grand adventure out in with your friends, then this just might be the place for you. For 7500 Tk, you would get a three room cottage which they can accommodate for up to 8 people.
If you are simply not planning to spend a night out there, I recommend you heading out in the morning at say 7:30. You will reach the resort by 9:00 when you can have a charming breakfast buffet for only about 250 Tk. Then with a little extra fee you can enjoy most of the facilities provided in the resort and try out the Jamuna River Cruise. Then in the afternoon you can head back to Dhaka. But let me tell you the real charm of Jamuna Resort is staying for a night. This gives you the opportunity to not only enjoy the sight seeing tours arranged by the Resort but also enjoy all the facilities available. Among the sight seeing tours you have options of visiting Modhupur Jungle, Paharpur, Natore and Rajshahi and also Mahasthangar. It may not be your vacation to Malaysia, but it's a good alternative for less than 10,000 TK.
Jamuna Resort is a grand idea, no doubt. But there are major expansion plans for the future. The management plans to open a theme park, a golf course, a full fledged shopping mall all in the near future. It is estimated that Jamuna Resort would reach its full capacity by 2010.
Like I said before, if you have a little cash in your hands, it is a great place just to leave the heat of Dhaka. The weather beside the river side is almost always awesome. And at night, if you have nothing to do, take a hike through the sides of Jamuna. See the ethereal Jamuna Bridge bathed in light. If that doesn't give you the gush of amazement you need, I don't know what will.
Mega alternative blast at RCC
I thought I was dreaming when I saw the band line-up for this concert. It was amazing. Nemesis, Arbovirus, Breach and Triloy performing in the same concert, it just had to be a blast. There was probably everything right about it; a great line-up, an attractive poster and almost everybody was talking about it. The only thing that could have raised a few eyebrows was the ticket price. Tickets were sold at 160 taka each, but those who have attended the concert will tell you that it was worth every penny they had spent.
The concert took place on the 19th of August, in the Russian Cultural Club (RCC) which is like a home to most of the underground bands in Dhaka. Armeen Musa and the Grasshoppers, Baahsznought, Delude, Shade, Silver & Sand and A.J. Pat were the rest of the bands who had performed that day. The day started of with A.J. Pat, one of the rare alternative underground bands in Dhaka, having a female bassist and a guitarist, followed by Silver & Sand and Shade. Even though there wasn't much of a crowd at the beginning of the concert, most of the upcoming bands were quite spirited and gave a number of lively performances.
Armeen Musa, who is quite well known in the underground scene performed along with the Grasshoppers. They started of with John Mayer's Back to you and then performed one of their own compositions “Pakhi”, which was quite impressive. They then ended their performance by playing Frou Frou's “Let go”. Baahzsnought, performing their last concert, started out with Blitzkreig Bop followed by a number of other songs. They also performed one of their own songs which the crowd really enjoyed. Up next was Triloy, a band that recently got more popular due to a string of good concerts, unfortunately could not perform with their whole band as Apu, the band's keyboardist was suffering from Typhoid. But that still didn't stop them, as vocalist Emil and guitarist Rana thrilled the crowd with their acoustic performance. They played two songs, Kobita and Anomoney, both of which were from their own album, Shunno.
Breach was the next band to hit the stage and they surprised everyone by playing Zombie of the Cranberries. They then played three songs from their own album and made the audience sing along with them when they played Jantrik Shobhota. They then finished their entertaining run by performing Guerilla Radio, which made the audience leave their seats and go wild. This was supposed to be Breach's last concert for at least a year and they did finish with a blast.
The band of the day however, was Nemesis. They mesmerized the crowd with their flawless performance. Everyone was up on their feet singing along with them. They started of by singing “Pride” by U2 and then sang four of their own songs. Maher tantalized everyone with his guitar solos and Zohad did the same with his voice.
The crowd was so excited that at one point the vocalist was pulled on to them. Nemesis kept the best for the last and ended their performance by playing Obhocheton, their track from the album Agontuk 2.
The last band to perform that day was Arbovirus. Fresh from their recently released album, they started of with Shikarokti, followed by Uttarodhikar. Both the songs were from their album. Though their performance was not quite up to the mark, they still managed to get hold of the crowd by performing Obhishaap and Omanush, two of their best songs.
In all, the show was a lot of fun and really worth coming to. The organizers “level 1” did a wonderful job and hopefully many more concerts like this one can be organized in the future.
By Naimul Karim
They killed E3!
The game industry's biggest show just got bust
In a surprising turn of events, game industry's biggest show, the Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3), got severely downsized (read: cancelled) after all four of the industry's big players: Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony and EA stepped away complaining about the poor return-on-investment the yearly conference offers.
Gamers and game presses worldwide are abuzz with theories, complains, and even cheers for the end of the definitive video games show.
According to Gamespot.com, the major publishers were paying upwards of $12 million just for floor space and between $50 - $70 million on sets and other events they planned around E3. It's understandable why they don't want to do this anymore. With games costing more and more to make and gamers not willing to pay for these increased productions cost with higher game prices they need to cut spending somewhere.
Brian Crecente from Kotaku.com sums up: “Having spent much of the day talking to industry insiders I'm starting to see some of the real reasons behind the move to downsize E3. The main, overarching reason seems to be that the event had become more important then the industry it was created to showcase.
Developers were spending sickening amounts of money and time to ply their goods and stand out from the glitz and noise of the show. Many companies had fulltime positions created just to deal with putting their presence at the show together. The business of making games slowed to a crawl each year as companies primed for the show. Games were rushed or slowed because of the show. In essence, it had become the cart driving the horse and the industry was tired of it.”
Scarlett, a game developer, offers his bit “Why they haven't tried to limit the size of it before has always escaped me, but I for one think this is a good thing. The company I work for spent 125 times my salary on our booth this year, yet it is "too costly" to hire another person for our team... so multiply that times all the big companies and then probably double it for EA and anyone with a jumbotron or fire dancers, and that's a lot of wasted money that isn't going into the games. And isn't that really the point of E3 anyway? The games? Or maybe it's the free t-shirts. I forget.”
“Even then, E3 remains - remained - our people's most raucous holiday, because that information is not reserved: how each of the "big three" countered the opposition, hidden gems of the show, surprise imports, direct-feed footage, the naked lies and raw spectacle. It's a lot of fun to watch, but then, I've never had to pay for EA's ten million dollar HD surround theater and then tried with furrowed brow to determine the return on that investment,” writes Tycho from Penny-Arcade.com
From whatever that can be gathered form the gamers worldwide, the old E3 will certainly be missed, but the publishers can't really be blamed for wanting to keep what was a big waste of time for both the professionals and the attendees under control.
The new smaller E3, tentatively titled the E3 Media Festival, would now cater to around 5,000 (we're assuming big press only) instead of hordes of fans and general press, and will be pushed back to a three days in July. Concerned gamers are advised to keep an eye on dedicated gaming blogs Kotaku.com or Joystiq.com for further developments.
By Ahmed Ashiful Haque
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