A note to Bangladesh

An independent trip to Bangladesh allowed me to see the sights of Dhaka, see the Pink Palace and Lalbagh Fort , walk along the embankments of Buriganga, find out where you can eat inexpensively in Dhaka; want to know more about Bangladesh – read the story about the trip to South Asia

When you read reviews about Bangladesh, you never cease to wonder how their authors managed to survive in this country: they don’t have that, and that’s not it. And it seems like you can’t take a step so that the locals don’t cling to you, and they say ammonia is added even to bottled water, and the climate is terrible, and in general some kind of nightmare; it is known that by local standards, a family is considered prosperous if its members eat three times a day and the house has running water. No, I do not argue that Bangladesh is one of the most miserable and disastrous places on the planet, and yet, as I happened to know, the devil is not as terrible as he is painted.

Thinking about how best to build a program of stay in South Asia, I first focused on India and even considered the possibility of allocating a week to the beaches of Goa. Then the plans changed, in addition to Indian cities, Dhaka appeared in them and even the idea of ​​spending a week of rest in Bangladesh surfaced: it turned out that a beach holiday in the town of Cox’s Bazar is in certain demand among foreign tourists. I searched the network and noticed a couple of good hotels near the seashore, but the difficulties with logistics and not the best conditions for staying put an end to my plans; the beaches of Cox’s Bazar had to be postponed for another time. Accordingly, acquaintance with Bangladesh, it was decided to shrink and see only the sights of Dhaka.

Contrary to my expectations, the Air India plane flying from Calcutta to the east turned out to be full to capacity; it seemed to me that Bangladeshis would prefer to go home by land transport, since getting from India to Dhaka by bus can be very inexpensive. Well, at least somehow there were no children’s crying, drunken neighbors and other “pleasures” with which whimsical fortune sometimes treats travelers. Yes, and it was not far to fly, everything about everything took less than an hour. Interestingly, they fed us sandwiches and gave us bottles of water, which were very useful to me later.

Although I chose, as usual, a seat by the window, there was absolutely nothing to look at, only some lights flickered from time to time. I also had to admire the Bangladeshi capital from a height until it was destined, it turned out to be visible from the other side. Well, the sights of Dhaka were waiting for me ahead, but for now it was necessary to resolve issues with a visa and transport.

A visa for Bangladesh, apparently, is easily obtained in Russia, and if there is a consular department in Moscow, then Bangladeshi visas are issued in St. Petersburg, the honorary consul does this. What does he have, that at the border the cost is the same, $ 50 per person, only in the first case you have to wait a week, while upon arrival the formalities take a few minutes. Moreover, some semi-official horse-radish with a badge undertook to patronize me; I never understood what he cared about the only foreigner who arrived, but he really helped to explain himself to the immigration officer, whose English I could not make out. Along the way, it turned out that a Bangladesh transit visa for $ 15 could theoretically be issued, but you must first find an airline representative, who would intercede with the authorities about a particular passenger. Catch somewhere a man from “Air India , I was ashamed and gave 50 dollars to the payment window, plus I put another five, because in addition to the fee, you also have to pay a 15 percent tax. Then I realized that I should have slipped a little Indian rupees from the remaining ones in my hands, but the bungle cashier already had four dollars in change. With a completed application form and a receipt for payment, I moved to the border control desk, a minute later I passed it and found myself in front of a whole series of exchange offices. I note that changing the currency at the Dhaka airport is quite profitable, the exchange rate there in most cases is 77.5, which is very good. Having changed fifty dollars, at the same time I got rid of the help, getting lost among the passengers waiting for their luggage.

For some reason, there were mountains of packages and suitcases lying near the right conveyor, so at first I thought that the Banglov loaders had already done their job, but the warning tape around the dump and the soldiers sitting nearby quickly dispelled my delusion. In fact, I had to wait at least half an hour for things …

Preparing the trip, I made a number of mistakes, though not very significant, but noticeable. One of them was in Bangladesh, when I reread the hotel brochure I picked up at the counter and discovered that guests are entitled to a free airport transfer, which must be booked in advance. Examination of the voucher showed that such an item in fine print was indeed on it, and a more careful approach would have saved me 15 dollars. It was this amount that I had to pay when communicating in prepaid-taxi at Dhaka airport. That is, at first I tried to go out into the street and start trading there, but in time I noticed that the approaches to the terminal were not at all teeming with vehicles: local residents were not allowed close to the air harbor. The thought that flashed through the darkness to the highway and catch a taxi there, I immediately threw it away. There was only a prepaid-taxi left, and all I managed to do as a result of a short trade was to drop the price from 1500 to 1100 taka. arrived on a call carrier so smartly that I suspected some kind of gesheft on his part. Anyway, I was able to get from India to Dhaka and was now on my way to the hotel…

The first impressions of Bangladesh turned out to be vivid, well-remembered: hordes, truly hordes of people and a terrible heat, over +30, and this is already deep after sunset, at ten o’clock in the evening. Local residents, whom the police do not let directly into the territory of the airport, crowded near the gate in such numbers that my mother did not grieve. This picture was the best way to understand what was happening in a country where one hundred and fifty million people are concentrated on an area the size of the Moscow region. And even on the way to the city, I realized that Muscovites and St. Petersburg residents complain about traffic jams in vain: they have not seen traffic jams! At night, we were able to get from the airport to the center of Dhaka in just 40 minutes, during the day it takes from one and a half to two hours for the same ten kilometers with a tail …

Stunned by the damp heat creeping into the windows of the taxi, I stared dejectedly at the passing landscapes, where the Bangladeshis swarmed, seemingly occupying every free patch of land. They loitered in crowds along the sidewalks and pavements, wiped themselves near the eateries, slept on some kind of bales and right on the ground … Bedlam was also happening on the road: hordes of cycle rickshaws climbed into every crack, the condition of most cars made us open our mouths, sometimes fuming buses with tin-filled holes in the sides …

It became clear that a trip to Bangladesh would not bring me great joy. I even thought that the country would be worse than India …

Arriving at the hotel somewhat cheered me up: although the driver did not understand exactly where to go, I knew what was what, and, having told him to drive slowly, I began to look at the buildings on the other side of the VIP road. The navigator did not disappoint: in the distance, the inscription “ Victory”, I ordered to turn around as soon as possible, we drove three hundred meters, cutting off some rattles, joined the opposite stream and stopped. Here I experienced a real shock, suddenly feeling that Dhaka can be not only dirty, noisy and crowded, but also clean and tidy. The foyer of the hotel left nothing to be desired, it looked quite European. The room also looked good, where I got a couple of minutes later, as soon as all the formalities with the settlement were completed. I had air conditioning, a refrigerator, a hot shower and a quite comfortable bed – everything shone clean and tidy. The room also had a window that looked out into a gap between the houses, but I knew from Indian experience that it was better to have a view of the next wall than to enjoy the horns from the street. That is, beeps were still heard,

Well, I finally arrived in Bangladesh and, falling asleep, I thought that I only need to hold out for two days – I’m not a Bangla, fortunately, I’m not required to live in such an environment …

Frankly, in the morning I did not want to go outside at all: remembering what a humid heat was choking Dhaka in the evening, I had a good idea of ​​what would happen on the streets during the day. I still had to go, and at breakfast I set myself up in the right way. Breakfast, by the way, turned out to be very good, organized according to the “buffet” principle. And although the Bangla thoroughly peppered part of the meat meal, I still paid tribute to the vegetables and ordered an omelette, which was fried right there, in the restaurant hall, by a cheerful cook. There was no cheese or sausage available, I had already begun to get used to this feature of the region, but there were pancakes and delicious muffins at hand. Finishing the meal with three cups of coffee with milk, I felt my mood creeping up.

On a full stomach, everything was perceived differently, and I had a hope that perhaps things in Bangladesh were not so bad. The first steps in Dhaka strengthened this hope, because the situation was much better than in the same Delhi, not to mention Calcutta. Yes, there was rubbish lying around, yes, the heat was crushing, yes, there were no crowds of people around, but at least it didn’t stink of urine from all corners. Cyclo rickshaws were rolling past, and almost none of them – unlike the Indians – did not cling to questions about where I should go, the Bungles on foot went about their business, and when I remembered the review about Bangladesh, which stated that, they say, locals at the sight of a foreigner “can create a crowd in 10 seconds” and start staring at the visitor, then just laughed. No, sometimes I felt scrutinizing looks on me, but about

Since I needed to get to the historical center, for a walk I chose a major highway with a strange name North South road; there was something American in it with their typical: “If General Johnson Stonehead could outflank the enemy at the Battle of Little Big Creek, the whole history of the world would have gone a different way. And so his soldiers near the barn of the Shield farm got stuck in the thistle bushes and retreated under heavy enemy fire, having lost three killed and five wounded in the bloodiest battle in world history ”… So, North-South Street surprised me with a combination of shabby huts and quite modern skyscrapers; it seemed that I was in a somewhat ennobled India. The traffic also resembled Indian traffic, with the amendment that most of the vehicles were cycle rickshaws – it is believed that that in Dhaka there are either three hundred thousand, or half a million, no one really can compile statistics. Because of this brethren, it turned out to be very difficult to walk: when rush hour came in Hong Kong and the working people blocked the sidewalks, I just undertook to maneuver between the cars stuck in traffic, but it turned out to be impossible to do the same in Dhaka because of the cycle rickshaws, whose strollers were right next to each other to friend. And the sidewalk was filled with foot bungles mixed with vendors of all sorts of things. Here I concluded that since part of the population sells something and people buy good from it, it means that life in Bangladesh is not so poor. Most of the goods were fabrics and various clothes, shoes came across. And about five hundred meters from the hotel, I found a good grocery supermarket where you could buy almost everything that is sold in civilized places, including juices and ice cream. There I first bought water, paying 20 taka for a one and a half liter bottle, less than they asked in India. But juices were expensive, for the sake of a liter it was necessary to fork out for 300 taka.

I was very lucky with water, because I was afraid to buy it from street vendors, believing that they could well pour bottles directly from the tap, and I already had a chance to find out what flows from the tap, and an unpleasant smell from the skin after an evening shower felt even in the morning.

The fact that in Bangladesh you can buy human products, and do it not far from the Victory hotel , made me very happy, and almost immediately the streak of luck continued: at the intersection with Sharani road, the police blocked traffic. Either there was an accident, or a fight, or an election rally, but both lanes of the North South road stood up tightly, and I, like many Bangls, moved along the section of the road that was freed from traffic. True, Dhaka’s most cunning cycle rickshaws tried to bypass the traffic jam to the north along the clear right lane, but the police quickly discouraged the sly ones from doing so; right in front of my eyes, one driver was treated with a bamboo stick and turned back, despite the intercession of the rider …

Having reached the junction with the English road, I deftly avoided the harassment of some Bangla who wanted to organize a tour of the old quarters of Dhaka for me and organized it myself. As a matter of fact, the historical center of the capital of Bangladesh differs from non-historic areas only in the density of buildings, narrow streets and higher levels of litter. Here, rotting vegetables began to come across, and piles of torn polyethylene, and some kind of rubbish, and clothes drying on clotheslines were added. In principle, I happened to see about the same landscape in the old part of Hanoi, and some places in Manila were clearly reminded of pictures from Dhaka. In general, the surrounding world did not strike me at all, but what struck me was a small altar, arranged almost in the middle of the alley – there is garbage, there is rubbish, and here, here,

From Shangharia Bazarit was possible to go south to see the Pink Palace, but I decided to leave the sights of Dhaka for later, but for now go to the Ganges embankment. That is, it is not quite the Ganges, the river is called the Buriganga, and is a tributary of the Ganges. Nevertheless, it is wide and navigable, as I happened to see for myself. It was the river bank that made the strongest impression on me, and for good reason. But before we talk about the realities there, I will mention two episodes that happened along the way. Firstly, I was almost crushed by a stupid grandfather rickshaw, who was carried away by chatting with a passing colleague, and put a hefty bruise on my calf with the hub of his wheel; not only he apologized, but also a passenger with a child … Secondly, I caught my eye on classic London double deckers, brought by the Bangles to such an unthinkable state,

The waters of Buriganga cannot be described with a pen, so I will please the public with only a few sketches. To plunge into the whirlpool of local events, you need to buy an entrance ticket to the pier for 5 taka. There are huge ferries moored along the river – they regularly appear in the world news when another note like “Rescue operation is underway at the crash site. We get different data about how many passengers were on board the ship at the time of the crash. Their number ranges from 200 to 350 people … “On my own behalf, I can say that the ships I saw sit very low in the water, and besides, there are no partitions on the main deck – the slightest list, and write wasted … Nevertheless, local residents actively use river transport,

Frankly, I was especially struck not even by the naked boys of Bangladesh, but by the company operating in the river with nets. I don’t know what the trinity of fishermen were catching in the river, officially recognized as lifeless, but having pulled out the catch, the young Bungles took it apart so briskly, as if they really caught something valuable. I remembered the immortal lines of Pushkin: “Tatya, tya, our nets dragged a dead man” – in my opinion, Buriganga is not able to please the fishermen with anything else …

In the same place, on the gangway of one of the piers, I came across a resting lad, who without any fuss settled down right in the middle of the road, put his fist under his head and was sleeping; again I remembered Pushkin with his “…tired, poor thing? Have a rest, dear…” Such lovely, ingenuous morals…

and since they were immediately surrounded by cycle rickshaws from all sides, the monsters did not manage to disperse. In short, the Buriganga embankment would be imprinted in my memory with scenes from local life alone, not counting the terrible water and giant mountains of garbage along the banks …

The only clean spot in the entire area was the Pink Palace, the former residence of the rulers of Bengal. The sights of Dhaka are small in number, and this is the main pearl of the Bangladeshi capital. The pink complex was built in the 1860s and then rebuilt several times in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants. In the pictures, the Pink Palace looks very stylish, the reality is somewhat different: the grass in front of the ensemble is scorched and littered, albeit not much, with pieces of paper and bags. It might be worth going inside, but the reviews of the indoor exhibition were not inspiring enough to break away from the Bangladeshi exoticism. In return, I gave myself a tour of the shopping districts, first passing through Babu Bazar and then through Chowk B azar. It is simply impossible to list the entire assortment offered by the owners of shops and stalls; for the sake of order, I will only mention fake watches of various brands that can be purchased in Bangladesh for 300 or even 200 taka. By the way, while studying the goods laid out on a newspaper, I became an unwitting witness to a duel between two cycle rickshaws. Either someone did not give way, or something else, but the Bangles quickly moved from words to deeds – their own slippers became the weapons of the duelists. Fighting in the crowd turned out to be inconvenient, and passers-by quickly began to calm down the rickshaws, but each of them managed to make a couple of deft attacks. In fact, aggression to the locals, as it seemed to me, is not typical, and those maneuvers for which in Russia they could break the face, took place here as a matter of course. I’m not talking about behavior in traffic jams, where entire districts sometimes get stuck, as was the case near the martyr’s mosque. There, an old man, pushing a cart loaded for future use, drove his wheel into a pothole, and as a truck rolled up towards him, both sides of the street were dammed up; no matter how many volunteers tried to lift the cart, nothing helped, so for the next couple of blocks I only contemplated a continuous carpet of tuk-tuks and rickshaws. It was in this mess that I met another white man, the only tourist I saw in three days in Bangladesh. He sat dejectedly in the rickshaw chair and stared hopelessly into the distance, waiting for the driver to move, finally, from his place … he drove his wheel into a pothole, and as a truck rolled up towards him, both sides of the street were dammed up; no matter how many volunteers tried to lift the cart, nothing helped, so for the next couple of blocks I only contemplated a continuous carpet of tuk-tuks and rickshaws. It was in this mess that I met another white man, the only tourist I saw in three days in Bangladesh. He sat dejectedly in the rickshaw chair and stared hopelessly into the distance, waiting for the driver to move, finally, from his place … he drove his wheel into a pothole, and as a truck rolled up towards him, both sides of the street were dammed up; no matter how many volunteers tried to lift the cart, nothing helped, so for the next couple of blocks I only contemplated a continuous carpet of tuk-tuks and rickshaws. It was in this mess that I met another white man, the only tourist I saw in three days in Bangladesh. He sat dejectedly in the rickshaw chair and stared hopelessly into the distance, waiting for the driver to move, finally, from his place … so for the next couple of blocks, I only contemplated a continuous carpet of tuk-tuks and rickshaws. It was in this mess that I met another white man, the only tourist I saw in three days in Bangladesh. He sat dejectedly in the rickshaw chair and stared hopelessly into the distance, waiting for the driver to move, finally, from his place … so for the next couple of blocks, I only contemplated a continuous carpet of tuk-tuks and rickshaws. It was in this mess that I met another white man, the only tourist I saw in three days in Bangladesh. He sat dejectedly in the rickshaw chair and stared hopelessly into the distance, waiting for the driver to move, finally, from his place …

I had to interrupt my walk through the center of Dhaka only twice in order to buy a 200-hour clock and replenish my water supply. Because of the last deal, I had to be nervous, since the supermarkets still didn’t meet, and I didn’t want to buy water from my hands, even though bottles and bottles were sold at all corners. In the end, I convinced myself that everything was in order in the pharmacy, and the coveted water at a standard cost of 25 taka per liter passed into my hands.

I note that nowhere did I have to experience problems or misunderstandings, no one looked askance at the expensive “reflex camera” that adorned my chest, with the exception of the inhabitants of the garbage ghetto, as I christened those who live along the tributary of the Buriganga. The whole of Dhaka is thoroughly littered, yes, but something unimaginable is going on there, and the amount of various abominations on the banks goes off scale. From there, I, who came for the exotic, had to cheerfully carry my legs, after which for a long time I shake off some flies that had settled on my T-shirt and shorts. Then, when the Kamalbag region was left behind, I thought that I saw something similar in Manila, although the area was a little cleaner there … I think if before traveling to Bangladesh I had only traveled around Europe on my own, the landscapes of Dhaka would have been a severe shock for me,

Returning to the “civilized” region, I pretty soon landed on another attraction in Dhaka. Lalbagh Fort is a former palace whose construction the Mughals began but never finished. The project was carried out by the son of Aurangzeb, Prince Muhammad Azam, and, it would seem, with such patronage, the work should have been argued, but the turmoil in the huge power diverted the attention of the rulers from Bengal, and the complex did not acquire its final form. All that had been built was a mosque, a couple of tombs, and some ancillary structures. You can visit Fort Lalbagh, guests are expected every day except Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, in the summer until 6 pm, on Fridays there is a break for prayer from 12:30 to 14:30. Bangladeshis enter the walled area for free tickets for tourists cost 200 taka. Personally, I recommend going to Lalbagh Fort, inside at least you will be able to get rid of the garbage landscapes.

I had to wait a long time for the next attraction in Dhaka: at first it started to rain inappropriately, driving me under the canopy of some shop, then instead of highways I decided to go through the local university and ran into a series of hostels. Hell, I deliberately looked into the distance, whether the transport was visible there or not, and so broke off: the tuk-tuks and taxis that I noticed simply brought students to the hostel, and did not drive along the street, as it seemed to me. I had to make a detour and go east past the university buildings plastered with political posters. But I immediately met with a place that I dreamed about all the way: no matter how much I looked at the shops in the bazaars, souvenirs were not sold anywhere, and here T-shirts with Bangladeshi symbols hung along the fence. Their seller, however, went away somewhere, and I made a deal for 400 taka with his neighbor who sold newspapers. Well, it turned out inexpensively, at least for such a memorabilia the price is not bad.

Literally right there, I happened to rejoice once again: inside the National Museum of Bangladesh hides not only the main exposition, but also a souvenir kiosk located to the left of the entrance. A ticket for foreign tourists costs a mere trifle, 100 taka, although until recently prices were lower, and on the ticket, behind a strip of black felt-tip pen, “ seventy five taka ” is clearly read. A decent line of bungles snaked in front of the entrance, and I poked my luck out of the queue, hoping that the guest of the country would be treated with understanding. And so it happened: I was immediately let through, and they didn’t even begin to inspect, even though all the equipment I was carrying began to ring on the metal detector. All that remained was to hand over the bag with the camera to the luggage storage and start viewing the exposition.

The second and third floors are reserved for the museum collections, the visit begins with the study of a huge, hall-sized map of Bangladesh. Then the visitor is dipped into the time of King Pea, and gradually led to the present. It was quite interesting to look at the shop windows, models and finds of ethnographers, but the museum very cleverly avoided many aspects of local life. For example, it contained various property of the Bangladeshi tribes, but not a word was said about how, under the Great Mughals, East Bengal fed India – a truly dumbfounding fact, if you remember how poor the Bangls are now. After all, they gained independence from Pakistan in 1971, and only after thirty years were they finally able to establish self-sufficiency in food. By the way, a giant hall with two levels is dedicated to the War of Independence. The massacres of the Pakistani military against the civilian population are shown convexly, with photographs of corpses and dismemberment, and even twice a day a movie about those bloody events is shown on the big screen. Then the situation developed in such a way that during the division of British India, the territory occupied by Muslims was split in two, and in addition to Pakistan, another province was formed in its usual borders in the east. Since the capital of the state was in the West, the Punjabis ruled it, and the representatives of Bengal were treated in every possible way, and although the eastern part contributed about two-thirds of export profits to the budget, pennies were allocated for its development. The patience of the future Bangles ran out in 1970, when the region was hit by the elements, which claimed, according to various estimates, from 300 to 500 thousand lives. The Bengalis did not wait for any good help from the authorities of Pakistan and revolted. Pakistani punishers were unable to break the resistance of the partisans, and by the end of 1971, almost a hundred thousandth army of the invaders was captured. After the formation of a new state, the fighters for independence immediately took up internal strife – the National Museum of Bangladesh kindly skips this stage in history. And it would be, she-she, interesting to trace the chronology of political events: after all, over the next twenty-five years after gaining sovereignty, the country experienced 17 coup attempts. After the formation of a new state, the fighters for independence immediately took up internal strife – the National Museum of Bangladesh kindly skips this stage in history. And it would be, she-she, interesting to trace the chronology of political events: after all, over the next twenty-five years after gaining sovereignty, the country experienced 17 coup attempts. After the formation of a new state, the fighters for independence immediately took up internal strife – the National Museum of Bangladesh nicely skips this stage in history. And it would be, she-she, interesting to trace the chronology of political events: after all, over the next twenty-five years after gaining sovereignty, the country experienced 17 coup attempts.

In general, the museum says almost nothing about the current stage of the country’s life; from the modern there are only paintings, sculptures and other works of local authors. And so the museum halls are filled with a variety of good things from the past. Personally, I was most impressed by the intricately carved wooden panels. Interestingly, it is forbidden to take pictures in the National Museum and cameras are taken away at the entrance, however, servants do not pay attention to smartphones and mobile phones – click as much as you like …

After I finished my tour of the exhibit, I grabbed my bag and started to move towards the door of the souvenir shop when I found that it was already closed. That’s bad luck: you should first buy magnets, and then go upstairs to the museum, but who knew …

Yeah, speaking about the sights of Dhaka, I must certainly mention how I met an amazing sculpture garden at the intersection of Fuller road and Pikhana Road. In the middle of it stuck out a patriotic composition, listed as “shadhinotar songram”, right there were natural “Worker and Collective Farm Woman”, only in the Bangla style, and around there were many busts of various personalities, from Einstein to Hugo Chavez. I was never able to establish why such monuments would be erected in the middle of Dhaka, but I was very impressed by what I saw.

Meanwhile, the day began to decline, and it was time to add physical food to the spiritual food. I unequivocally rejected the idea to dine in one of the local eateries, because I saw what and how street cafe traders cook. Much more attracted me to find among unsanitary conditions

There is a McDonald ‘s near the junction of Kataban road with Panta Road . To the buzz of a huge traffic jam at Kazi Nazrul a venue, I made my way to the right place solely in order to find the windows of plumbing stores all over. A couple of catering points, accidentally wormed their way into the realm of toilet bowls and sinks, did not inspire confidence. I then headed west down Panta Road , hoping to find a KFC that seemed to be a couple of blocks away , but it turned out much better: as I approached the gleaming, modern Bashundhara City Shopping Mall , I realized that there might be a food court inside.

After passing the guards, who felt only “their own” and let the foreigner pass without a sound, I found myself in such an amazing place, which one cannot even dream of in the heart of Bangladesh. Perfect cleanliness reigned here, and although there were hordes of Bungles, it still seemed like I was transported to another world … The patterned ceiling alone was worth something, it looked worthy of “Galeries Lafayette” …

As I entered the mall, I noticed a notice on the side of the Capricorn restaurant promising a buffet dinner for 675 taka plus tax; this vile habit of Bangladeshis to quote the price without tax should be kept in mind when planning calculations. Accordingly, crammed into the elevator with a dozen locals, I got to the top floor and, lo and behold! – I felt almost like in a Scheherazade fairy tale: the entire eighth floor was occupied by cafes and restaurants. There were both Indian cuisine outlets and Japanese, Chinese, purely Bangladeshi establishments, there are places to get sandwiches and pizza, so if you are wondering where you can eat inexpensively in Dhaka, welcome to Bashundhara City Shopping Mall .

No matter how catering workers from all sides tried to persuade me to dine with them, I diligently searched for the coveted ” Capricorn”, remembering the promise of food at the panoramic window. And a restaurant with the right sign was found, and there were windows overlooking Dhaka, but there was not a word about the “buffet” anywhere. Being tired of the heat and exhausted from the walk, I decided that the offer was probably valid only in the late evening, and having found several suitable items on the menu, I made an order in a simple way. Bundles of hefty-looking hamburgers of all kinds, portions of fries and a glass of soda cost from 180 to 320 taka, and with a light heart I spent two and a half hundred taka for lunch. He asked again, they say, “but spicy?” – “Know”, they answered me. Well, I got a “but spicy” sandwich soaked in some kind of poisonous sauce. I even had to disassemble the structure and wipe the surface of the cutlet with a napkin to get rid of at least part of this rubbish …

What a stupid thing I did, flattered by the sonorous name of the restaurant, it turned out a quarter of an hour later: once on the street, I studied the enticing advertisement more closely and saw that the authentic Capricorn was not in the shopping complex, but in the tower next door, on the 19th floor . That’s what fatigue means… In fairness, I’ll say in defense of my bad decision that I still managed to dine in Dhaka inexpensively and, most importantly, the place was full of locals, that is, in all respects it seemed that it was appreciated and popular…

During my lunch, darkness fell on the capital of Bangladesh, and another day of travel in South Asia was coming to an end. In other circumstances, it would have been worth taking a taxi or tuk-tuk to the hotel, but I had already gained experience and went on foot. Suffice it to say that traffic barely moved along Kazi Nazrul Avenue, and when I turned onto H are road, I found myself near such a traffic jam that not a single car overtook me along the way.

To Victory Hotel”I arrived in complete darkness, driving even more Bungles out into the street than during the day. It seemed that the whole city was going somewhere … Fortunately, I no longer needed to participate in this turmoil, I walked only a piece of the morning route, reaching a familiar store where it was possible to buy food cheaply in Dhaka. There, however, there was a slight hitch, since all the numbers on the product were depicted in Arabic, more precisely in the Bangladeshi dialect of Arabic. I understand Arabic numerals in Egypt or the UAE there perfectly, but here it was impossible to understand the squiggles. Only with the help of a security guard did I manage to find out that a liter tub of soda in the manner of Coca-Cola costs 55 taka and a box of half a kilo of ice cream will cost 100 taka. So I gave myself a feast for the whole world, returning to the hotel and enjoying not only the coolness of the air conditioner, but also not having time to melt a delicacy. At that moment, it seemed to me that Bangladesh was not such a bad place, since I returned from a tour of Dhaka alive, healthy and even well-fed …

That I rejoiced in my successes early became clear the next morning. For the time being, everything was going well. After having breakfast and packing, I checked out and simultaneously rejected the porter’s offer of $ 20 for a transfer – I knew that even by predatory standards ” prepaid taxi» to get to Dhaka airport costs almost half the price. So I rolled out into the reality of Dhaka, quite sure that I would quickly get a taxi and negotiate with its driver. On the street, an unpleasant surprise awaited me: tuk-tuks and cycle rickshaws rolled past apparently-invisibly, and there were no taxi drivers at all. In unsuccessfully looking at the traffic flow, 10 minutes passed, and the devil began to beat me. Well, at least the Bangles chatting in the neighborhood reassured me, saying that a taxi would certainly meet, you just need to wait. So I waited, gradually winding up. Fortunately, I still managed to get a taxi driver out in about twenty minutes, and, importantly, he agreed to take me according to the meter; reviews of Bangladesh claimed that the sun would sooner rise in the west than a taxi driver in Dhaka would turn on the meter.

I don’t know who developed the fares, but he was a very wise man, since taxi drivers charge him for the duration of the trip, and not for the distance traveled. If it were otherwise, a taxi ride to Dhaka airport would have cost three times cheaper: it’s either 12 or 13 kilometers to go there. It seems like a trifle, but in fact it took us almost an hour and a half for the whole journey … I was completely crazy, realizing what monstrous consequences would be late. Only the behavior of the driver, who competently made his way through the stream, helped me to control myself. He deftly maneuvered when it was possible, and when we again got up tightly, he turned off the engine and put the car on the handbrake. Fortunately, the air conditioner worked inside the cabin, so exhaust gases and heat, these two scourges of Dhaka, did not bother me. Forcing myself to distract myself from gloomy thoughts about the passing time, I studied the surroundings and saw funny scenes a couple of times. For example, one of the drivers in the next row simply fell asleep during the 15 minutes that we were waiting for the traffic light to switch. We drove off, the lane also moved from that side, and he hung his head on his chest and was sleeping; and it’s good to sleep like that, the bus was buzzing all over in the back, and the bangle, at least henna. So we left…

It was interesting to note that the inhabitants of Dhaka do not use pedestrian crossings suspended above the roads at all: it is much easier to dive between standing cars than to climb up in the heat. If someone climbed onto the footbridge, then he, most likely, is going to lie down to sleep there: the place is cool, and no one walks, does not push with his feet, not like below, on the sidewalk …

So, it took us an hour to cover a section of four and a half kilometers, while the remaining distance twice as much we slipped in twenty minutes. And when I, having given the driver 780 taka, burst into the terminal, the same amount, 20 minutes, remained until the end of registration. I was still detained by some guys in uniform who began to question me when I arrived in Bangladesh, where I lived and so on. Then it turned out that this is how they fill out the exit questionnaire, and I am required to pay them baksheesh for help. Since there was only one piece of paper in 500 taka in my pockets, and I was going to exchange it back for dollars, nothing broke off the Bangla, which they were very unhappy about. But I was delighted when, firstly, I got a seat by the window, and secondly, the course, according to which the taka is exchanged for dollars at the Dhaka airport, it turned out to be tolerable, 78.6, thirdly, in the duty free there were all those souvenirs that I was going to bring from Bangladesh, but could not buy anywhere. So I had to forget about the exchanger and pay for magnets and jewelry. By the way, during check-in, I noticed that in the departure hall, even before ticket control, there is a souvenir kiosk, and there you can probably buy various small things in memory of Dhaka. But, alas, if a person went to the check-in desks, they are no longer allowed to go back to the common room – the rule applies throughout South Asia. During check-in, I noticed that in the departure hall, even before ticket control, there is a souvenir kiosk, and there you can probably buy various small things in memory of Dhaka. But, alas, if a person went to the check-in counters, they are no longer allowed to go back to the common room – the rule applies throughout South Asia. During check-in, I noticed that in the departure hall, even before ticket control, there is a souvenir kiosk, and there you can probably buy various small things in memory of Dhaka. But, alas, if a person went to the check-in counters, they are no longer allowed to go back to the common room – the rule applies throughout South Asia.

So the parting with the capital of Bangladesh took place on a positive note, and in general the whole stay in this outstanding country turned out much better than I expected. I had no conflicts with anyone, I did almost everything that I planned, I visited the most important sights of Dhaka, I found where to eat inexpensively, in the end I bought souvenirs as I wanted. It turned out that life in Bangladesh is not so hopeless, and in those few days that I went to the former West Bengal, I got more exciting impressions than in India, even though such large and famous cities as Delhi , Agra and Jaipur .

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