Northern Dhaka, Bangladesh
Day 162: Country #18
Aware of Bangladesh’s status as one of the world’s poorest countries, my personal interest in understanding socioeconomic inequality lead me to visit the wealthy “suburbs” to the north of the city. I also received confirmation for Bhutan in the morning so I wanted to find the bus route up New Airport Road to the airport because missing the morning flight would be a financial disaster.
One thing about Bangladesh is that it’s extremely noisy and filled with persistent honking. I disembarked near the train station and followed others down the dusty road to a railroad crossing, which marked the beginning of the Baridhara neighborhood. It was a sunny day but the paths were wet and muddy.
Eventually I reached neatly organized, master planned city blocks full of signs to dissuade honking, but it seemed to be a way of life.
After rows and rows of houses, I stopped by the Ananya Supermarket and found some interesting fruits to snack on as I continued through a different gated community within the Baridhara neighborhood in order to reach the Gulshan 2 neighborhood where I expected to see high rises, glass structures and luxury housing. There were some, but not nearly what I had imagined given the country’s population density. Then it started raining and I was again not well prepared.
I had attempted to cover my shoes with plastic bags, but they wore down with each step. So I found a roll of packaging tape and tried to bind my shoes with limited success, but combined with an umbrella, I could keep going.
I found a travel agency around Gulshan Circle and chatted with one of the agents about his life as he tried to accommodate my tour request. I wasn’t keen on simply hiring a driver, and it felt like there was very limited tourist infrastructure, though it’s definitely possible to visit Bangladesh’s scattered ancient and religious sites. I enjoyed a local cup of coffee, but was not able to book anything. At some point along this long journey, I lost interest in visiting temples just to see them.
Continuing on, I made my way to Banani neighborhood, the third which the hotel staff mentioned to me, until I reached Dhaka International University (just one building) by New Airport Road, then hopped on a bus back to FarmGate.
Walking through the market to reach the hotel and get more socks, I noticed all the blatant child labor, which made me really want to see a real university, so I headed south again to Dhaka University main campus.
I wasn’t able to see into any classrooms, but there were plenty of students out and about and I even found an outdoor eating area where I got a delicious milk tea and a simple dinner for super cheap.
The way back at the end of the day was just as noisy as the way there at the beginning of the day.
Carry an extra pair of socks with you so when it rains or when your shoes get wet, or if you sweat excessively during a hot day, the extra socks gives you a little more time with dry feet to continue exploring. They’re small, lightweight and can be stuffed in a pocket.