As most of you now know, I have recently moved to Jakarta from Dhaka. Dhaka was one of the most amazing places in the world to me, and I loved the 1 year that I spent there. I have so many memories from there, memories that I want to share. So here are some of them.
It is the last week of school before the Easter Holidays, so it is FIELD TRIP WEEK!!!!! YESSSSSS!!!! Varying years groups did different activities, but Years 7, 8 and 9 went to the one and only Base Camp Bangladesh, an outdoor activity center.
On the Friday of last weekend, my father and I went on a cycle ride out to the Shitalakhya River, to the east of Dhaka. The ride starts out going up Papa’s beloved Progati Shoroni Avenue in Baridhara, then starting to go west up onto the Tongi Diversion Road, then onto the Purbachal Express Highway. This takes you way out of Dhaka, and way out of Dhaka is where Papa and I went.
Well, the 12th of February was the birthday of a certain someone. And, no, it wasn’t Abraham Lincoln. It was ME!!!!!! MY 14th birthday! I am now properly into the teenage years! I think a lot of people might be wondering what a birthday in Bangladesh might actually entail, so here is a quick synopsis of what happened…
So, on Friday and today, I went to the Dhaka Art Summit. The Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) is the world’s biggest South Asia art show, and I got to see it!!!!
The first time I went was with my parents and sister on the day of the grand unveiling. And grand it was! I was a bit apprehensive, because I don’t see myself as an arty person, but it was super cool. The first little room contained a photo series titled “Land of Undefined Territory”, all about people exploiting the land that lies between the India and Bangladesh border. I walked in and knew that this was going to be the art exhibition to end all art exhibitions. And I was right!
In the last post I made, I promised a bhajji vs. samosa contest straight from foodie heaven. I will first outline what both of these food items are, and will then share my thoughts and the votes and comments of various family members. Then, reader, it’s down to you to vote on your favourite. And if you ever find yourself in Dhaka, do stop by a roadside stall and sample these for yourself!
- Don’t follow the rules. If there is a stop sign, stopping is optional. If there is a speed limit, no-one will thank you for abiding to it. In short, by following the rules, you are causing problems for yourself and your fellow road users, and will receive a lot of angry beeping in return for your attempts to remain legal.
- Take risks that may be fatal. Everyone else on the road is only concerned about getting to their destination as fast as possible, so why shouldn’t you be? Don’t be afraid to zoom in front of a truck, or overtake when you can’t see if there is any oncoming traffic.
- If you don’t yield, then you have right of way. When approaching a car that is about to emerge from a side street, DO NOT SLOW DOWN. Speed up! If you feel badly for delaying this person by 5 seconds, bear in mind that they would have done the same to you.
- Driving on the left side of the road is optional. More often than not, there isn’t a separation between the two sides of the road, and even if there is, don’t feel that you have to stick on the left all the time. If you are overtaking and the right lane is empty, stick in it for a while. Also, because of the millions of people living in Dhaka, there are 100’s of thousands of people on the roads, and there may not be enough space on your side of the road. Not as problem! Create another lane! On the other side of the road. Riding into the incoming traffic.
- Traffic lights are guidelines, not mandatory rules. After the light goes red, people will continue to go for at least 30 seconds. So, therefore, you will too. Also, if the light is red and nobody is currently driving through, then about 100 other drivers, you included, will take it upon yourself to cross the intersection, and most likely cause a pile-up.
- Be confident in yourself. If you are not confident in yourself and your performance on the road, then cycling in Dhaka is not for you. Sorry. Fold those Lycra shorts away in your closet and put your bike in storage. NO!!! Be confident in yourself and your abilities! All you need to cycle in Dhaka is a cool head and the ability to make quick decisions. So go! Be confident and cycle. It’s a whole load of fun and if you abstain for whatever reason, then you are missing out on something awesome!