there are no tourists in Bangladesh

The first image that greeted me after i landed at the airport in Dhaka on feb 13,was
a large group of men staring through a chain link fence at all the arrivals. I knew for sure this was not a tourist destination. This experience set the stage for the rest of my first week. my many starred guest house had several levels of accommodation. my first 2 nights, I was on the lowest rung. I upgraded to first class for $50 a night from $26. I now had a suite with a living room and small office; one must have a comfortable place to escape to after being on the streets of Dhaka for a few hours. Actually walking is a dangerous activity here. If you can manage between bicycle rickshaw, motorized rickshaws, broken down taxis, shiny new Japanese sedans, 4 wheel drive SUVs and beggars sitting on the street, you can walk defensively.. But crossing the streets are a whole other challenge. I walk to the taxi or rickshaw now. There are no acknowledged driving lanes; this way,that way,anyway,all ways is the motto in the moving vehicle.. Everywhere there is dirt, pollution, smog, poverty and children selling anything they can in between moving cars.. The rickshaw gives them an open field to attack.
if i count how many people i have in my Bangladesh cell phone, I think I have done an amazing job in one week. There is Sujon who works in an English language bookstore for $75 a month and is taking his exams for his masters in political science.. He was my bodyguard,guide and translator in the lower depths of old Dhaka down by the river. People raking through tons of garbage, barefoot and men carrying soil on the heads from the river so they can build a room.
We were followed by an army of young men for at least an hour as I photographed the life going on in front of me.. The foreigners who work in Dhaka never leave the green zone, or their SUV. they all have drivers, cooks,maids usual in 3rd world countries.. The average annual salary is $200 a year but next to Jaime prestige guest house, where i am staying, there are apartments for sale for 200,000 dollars.
My other new friend is Lindsay. a sort of born again Christian coming to Bangladesh with the church to spread the love of God. Better than the corrupt government stealing all the foreign aid money..
I actually have a job with an NGO starting tomorrow.. I am working with BPKS … for disabled peole.. statistics.. 140,000,000 people and `10% are disabled. It is no fun being disabled and poor as dirt, living on a dirt floor without electricity or running water.. And the rich Bangladeshi people assured me that even though the people were poor, they were happy.
So tomorrow i start my journey into the countryside with a driver and translator wow … there is no way i could have traveled in this country on a bus. As we will be traveling in undeveloped territory, the internet may not have made it out the these villages.. so i will post next week.
more exciting news from Chaotic world of Bangladesh soon..

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