Bangladesh – Dhaka, day 1 – 2005

I cannot recommend Dhaka, Bangladesh highly enough. If you want to have a very different experience and meet some wonderful people, GO!

The city of Dhaka cannot be described or understood unless you go there. It is so different that it is almost unbelievable. It is so different from anything that an American will experience in his or her lifetime in America.

The taxi ride was interesting into town from the airport. When we told the manager of the hotel how much we paid for the ride, he smiled and shook his head.

The streets are crammed with every type of moving vehicle, cows, and pedestrians. There are loops of wires hanging from the telephone poles of unknown sources and of every color. The infrastructure is lacking to some degree. There is trash piled up high on the sides of the street. Who cares, this is something very different.

The city is full of new concrete high rise buildings. The workers have come in to the big city looking for work. Apparently everyone came. The city is packed, but somehow it functions. The workers live on the concrete floors that they are creating as they work their way up, floor by floor. At night you can see camp fires burning in the new buildings.

The streets are or were paved here at some point, but they have seen better times. Who cares. The scenes around us are wonderful and so different.

Our hotel looks modern and is very comfortable. It is stylish and clean. As we enter our room it is pleasant and comfortable.

As we look out the window, we can see people living in tin shacks below us and washing their cloths in a small stream. This is what happens when people move to the city looking for opportunities. It is just the way it is here. It isn’t bad, perhaps, it’s just the way that it is.

I’m just a visitor here and don’t know the issues or the reasons for these things. But I already love this place. The food is great and the people are great.

Everyone tries to practice their English with us. They are very friendly and gracious. They know we are out of towner’s due to our travel garb and shoes. Everyone here wears sandals or so it seems. We were tennis shoes so we can walk all day and take in the sights.

We took a pedal cab for pizza one day. We started on a small street and then got on what I can only call a freeway and were soon among every type and size of vehicle whizzing past us and traveling slowly with us in the fast lane. Yes there were the cows still among us on the road as well. They are always among us.

We flipped a u turn from the fast lane, through a hole in a wire fence, and onto the other side of the freeway into the fast lane going in the opposite direction. Wow, I hope this pizza is good, it might cost me my life.

We, or shall I say our driver, worked his way over to the other side of the freeway and pulls up in front of a Pizza Hut. Yes, sometimes you just need pizza, even in Bangladesh. We got our driver a bottle of water from the restaurant and he was soon off into the haze looking for another fare.

What a guy. He is my hero so far here in Bangladesh.

Dhaka is still in the top three of cities of the world for me, thirteen years later and many countries and cities later.

At the end of the trip, the taxi ride was much cheaper back to the airport. We knew where it was now, and the driver knew it. It was a very short trip.