The Scanblog begins...
on The Scanblog (Bangladesh), 21/Oct/2008 11:23, 34 days ago
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Yes friends, here beginneth some of the more random utterances to be committed to virtual paper in a wee while, and probably not before time either. Its been a week since arriving in Bangladesh, and time has passed in a veritable blur of rickshaw drivers, excessive amounts of aubergine and spirited bids to avoid contracting water-borne diseases.But maybe I should begin at the beginning.I walked out of Dhaka airport to a sensory assault that hit me like a multicoloured kangaroo shouting "Hey there chump, welcome to the third world!" through a megaphone five centimeters away from my face. Hot? You betcha. Humid? Oh indeed; Satan's crotch after a day at the beach-style humid. As we climbed into the VSO minibus, the thought struck me that, had I been a small black dog, a slight girl with pig-tails, a blue dress and a white apron would surely be telling me that I wasn't in Kansas anymore. Not that I'd be able to understand her...being a dog. Stupid Dorothy.Driving down the airport road into Dhaka, I was afforded a startling introduction to the role a thorough and well-respected code of traffic law plays in the Dhaka transportation system, to wit, absolutely none whatsoever. Cars veered in all directions, vying for every single inch of space. Between the almost negligible space between the bumpers of different cars, it wasn't unusual to spot a rusting motorbike, ducking and weaving between the traffic with all the grace of a tired ex-boxer just fired from his night job as a doorman for coming to work drunk once too often.Then there were the CNGs - essentially green go-carts with a passenger seat bolted on to the back that can (allegedly) carry up to four people. They are shining proof of what can be achieved with only one gear. Watching them buzz around the roundabouts leading up to the bangladeshi parliament recalled the fond days of Pat Sharp and the fun house grand prix, but with fewer mullets and without little tokens you could reach out and grab - try sticking your arm out of these little critters and most likely it will be taken off pronto.Finally, there were the rickshaws - bikes towing little carriages ridden by people who are literally often bags of bones but who can tow 150kgs of foreigner around all day they're that fit. There are aapparently over three-hundred thousand rickshaws in Dhaka, though with the way they crowd the roads ringing their little bicycle bells that seems at times like an underestimate.We were dropped at the flat provided by VSO for induction volunteers. As we opened the door on what would be home for the next four weeks, I said a silent prayer for a decent view.Find out whether I got one in the next instalment - ooh the tension!