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Day One in Dhaka

Or how to navigate angry Germans and the land of rickshaws

I left Dubai after an eight hour layover and not having slept on the 17 hr flight that brought me in. When I gathered with the other 300 or so people for the Dhaka flight at 2:00am Dubai time, it wasn't hard to notice I was only one of four Westerners in the crowd. An hour of being stared at. Which would've been hard, but my boss had already warned me they mean no harm. They are literally wondering what the hell you are doing where you would need to go to Dhaka. Not many people have a hankering for this part of the world.

Oh and it's not like they're going to give you a visa to enter that easily either. So I slept most of the way there...and woke up in time to capture some pics off of the wing as we descended. It's monsoon season, so there's lots of clouds and water on the ground.

I had been prepared with a formal letter of invite from my company, but apparently this German man who was trying to gain access to the country had to have a meltdown over the fact he failed to produce such a letter. It devolved into embarrassing name calling and him screaming things at the Bangladeshi police. Who in turn, smiled and endeavored to make his life worse and worse by telling him to stand in a line where when he reached the counter, he was directed to another line. Which in turn made him angrier.

As I was procurring the visa, my driver hunted me down and stood in front of me silently holding this sign up with my name on it (he had a picture of me and there weren't many redheads around that day in the airport). It took two hours to get the luggage. With him was my "security detail" who seemed to have donned a fake Bangladeshi police uniform complete with epaulettes. As we left the airport, I could see hundreds of people thronged behind a tall iron gate, pressing in and holding onto the bars while awaiting loved ones outside the perimeter where they were not allowed to enter any further.

My driver sped through Dhaka quickly. Traffick laws are non-existent here. Instead, drivers must go with the flow. And I like it. It's how I like to drive, quite frankly. Pedestrians stepped right out in front of us, not a care in the world and we artfully dodged each one. Rickshaws everywhere. Tuk tuks zooming past, cutting us off, us cutting them off...a ride in Dhaka is never dull.

I got to my hotel, unpacked, and went straight to work after a cursory shower. And finally met my co-workers! They had a special lunch brought in and we ate this green chile spiced rice with chunks of beef and round potato balls. Delicious.

My night time ride home was beautiful. They really love to light up the streets at night... And Dhaka is a very mysterious city; meandering alleys, strange and hidden shops and street food eateries... So far, this is going well.

Tomorrow, my boss and his wife show me around more. Stay tuned.

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Posted by oedipamaas 07:35 Archived in Bangladesh Tagged hotels culture transportation airports dhaka

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