Dhaka, Bangladesh

The special part of this trip was that it was the only lay over that my airline company participates in, along with the economic capital of Bangladesh, Chittagong. Dhaka was a very interesting place to see. Busy, bustling, polluted, and crowds of people everywhere! Indeed one could get easily lost in this large hub of havoc and chaos which is all one could experience riding in a taxi or a “Tuc Tuc.” Not to mention the different smells, I could hardly breath without choking. When we reached one of the local markets the vibe was typical, of course the products are different but the feeling I got walking there was no different than walking down the “Heart of Sharjah,” but that’s probably because most Khaleeji cities are run by Bengalis, specially the older parts.

Not finding anything interesting to buy, I continued to walk along the streets looking around. Having my camera strapped around my neck I was hoping to capture some moments. I snapped shots of an old woman who was begging for money and a man who was begging me to buy something, its funny that in both cases my money was desired in one way or another yet I wasn’t really interested in participating in any such transaction. Who knows what else they’ll ask for. But hey, at least I got a smile out of the guy. Actually, usually when the kids come begging I always end up taking a snap of them and showing it to them, it gives them a bigger smile than receiving some loose change.

The most memorable part of this trip was me going on a 1 hour & half long taxi ride to the other side of Dhaka because a dear friend once showed me a picture of some boats from his last trip there and I thought it was the same place. I ended up riding through a river contaminated 100% with sewage water, it was the smelliest boat ride in my life. In fact, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the pollution of the Buriganga river:

Today, the Buriganga river is afflicted by the noisome problem of pollution. The chemical waste of mills and factories, household waste, medical waste, sewage, dead animals, plastics, and oil are some of the Buriganga’s pollutants. The city of Dhaka discharges about 4,500 tons of solid waste every day and most of it is released into the Buriganga. According to the Department of the Environment, 20,000 tonnes of tannery waste, including some highly toxic materials, are released into the river every day. Experts identified nine industrial areas in and around the capital city as the primary sources of river pollution: Tongi, Tejgaon, Hazaribagh, Tarabo, Narayanganj, Savar, Gazipur, Dhaka Export Processing Zone and Ghorashal. Most of the industrial units of these areas have no sewage treatment plants of their own. Source: Wikipedia

All in all, I would say my trip to Dhaka was a wonderful experience and I realized that there seems to be something common that I see between all foreign cities that I visit. Specially when it comes to peoples desires, everyday difficulties and experiences that highlight the struggle for luxury, earning one’s bread and getting stuck in traffic. But if Dhaka would be a place I’d like to visit every now and then, my answer will definitely be a no, however I really don’t mind having a cup tea again at a small cafe/restaurant just a few steps outside the hotel. It was probably one of the most delicious cups I have ever consumed.

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