Most of my readers, not that I have many, probably live in Scandinavia. We all know the busy and hectic days before Christmas, when everyone is walking and driving around looking for those last gifts. If you take that kind of «chaos» and multiply it with about 40 000, add 30 degrees, weird smells and lots of sounds – then you get Dhaka. The capital of Bangladesh which is not just considered a city but a megacity and it’s the 5th most populated city in the world – and by far the most hectic.
This place was not in my original plan, but due to a flight cancellation I had to spend two nights here. The bad thing with this is that I lost two days of organization in Kathmandu, Nepal. But I try to think positive and it’s always interesting to visit a new country and city, even if it’s just for a couple of days. And interesting it was, trust me.
Cars, rickshaws, motorbikes, bicycles and people EVERYWHERE! Just to get from the airport to my budget hotel, a distance about 5 kilometers, took almost 2 hours in a taxi. The traffic was congested, slow but hectic and aggressive at the same time. I truly admire the people driving in these conditions.
I didn’t really have any idea where to stay in Bangladesh, so I took a hotel somewhere between the «old town» where the most tourists go and the airport, since I didn’t want to stay too far from the airport having an early flight when I leave Dhaka. Dead tired after a long day, I went straight to bed ready to explore this megacity tomorrow.
I soon found out that I was staying in an area where foreigners and western people are VERY uncommon and I didn’t see a single one in my almost two days here. But that didn’t leave me alone, rather the straight opposite. I couldn’t even walk 5 seconds out of the hotel in the morning before a big crowd of 20-30 people started to gather around me and follow me. At first a little uncomfortable having all these people watching and following me, where they going to rob me? It was clearly I was not a local being tall, white and with my long blonde hair and blue eyes. It turned out they were just extremely curious and wanted to talk to me. And trust me, they did. Everywhere I went people looked at me, stopped me, shook my hand, asked lots of questions, took pictures and, a bit odd, touched me. Even though not everybody hear speak English, they all knew one word: selfie. Selfie is the new autograph and I guess I was in at least 1000 selfies this day. Everyone who stopped, approached, talked or even looked at me were men. Women are very conservative here and I guess also a bit shy. After a day walking the streets here, talking to random people, participating in pictures I was dead tired. That being said, it also gave me lots of energy since they were all just friendly, positive and curious. The hospitality of the Bangla people are among the best I’ve witnessed.
I always try to «live in the moment», but right now there is something big on my mind. Literally big. Actually the biggest mountain on earth, Mount Everest. Tomorrow morning I fly to Kathmandu in Nepal, spending one day there for some organization before we leave for the 15 day trek to and from Everest Basecamp.
I must admit, in addition to being super excited, I’m also a little nervous. I know it doesn’t help to worry and worry will never change the outcome so I try not to do it since it’s only a waste of energy and it will increase your stress level. But at the same time, if what you do, whether it’s your job, your hobbies or how you live your life, doesn’t make you the slightest nervous – does it really mean something to you? And is it really worth it?