Nothing can prepare you for Dhaka. It is the 7th largest city in the world and the fastest growing one. Thousands arrive from the country every day to find work & wealth. The streets are clogged with battered buses held together with fibre glass, with smashed headlights, cracked windscreens & all weather air con through the empty windows. Human sardines peer out of their mobile cans, worry sketched on their faces, praying that their interminable journey will eventually end. Caged ..?tuk tuks, yes with metal grills on either side, follow on amongst their bigger brothers. Then the cars & lorries manoeuvre into the gaps. Mix in with this the thousands of rickshaws & their wirey riders & you get the picture. Horns blare constantly as these vehicles snag their way from jam to jam. Held up stationary for 10 minutes, a quick dash for all of 2 metres to be repeated time after time after time. Any journey takes hours. Yet the air quality is good as all engines are run on natural gas so no exhaust & no pollution!!
A bit of extra info about the rickshaw companies. There are 400,000 rickshaws in Dhaka. One guy may well own 100 or so rickshaws. Other guys will rent one out for 24 hours at a cost of 150 taka, about £1.50. The longest you can ride is an eight shift so 3 guys will each do one of these. The average each will make is 400 taka, about £4.00 a day – £2.50 profit per day. Here are some of the main men who fight the big boys through the streets.
Dhaka holds some fascinating sights in amongst the smash & grab of its streets. The locals stand & gaze at us. All fascinated by a group of whiteys and SO friendly – waves & smiles, jokes bout cricket & laughter. Wonderful. They want to take my picture!!