Friday, May 8

Lonely Planet: Dhaka, Bangladesh

"For all it's forests, temples, mosques, islands and beaches, the highlight of Bangladesh is Bangladesh. Once evoking images of war, overcrowding, floods and poverty, Bangladesh has largely fallen off the radar of Western consciousness into obscurity. But while the international psyche may not extend beyond ambivalence towards Bangladesh, the dynamic country proudly and progressively considers itself to be an active participant in an increasingly global community. In defiance of its stuttering development and the weight of historical tragedy that it bears, it is a nation charged with insatiable perseverance and promise....

As a traveller you offer Bangladesh an insight into the rest of the world and an opportunity to give the rest of the world an insight into it. For this reason it is one of the last frontiers where genuine cultural interaction is not only possible, but unavoidable. Every exchange you have is significant. Each impression you leave will remain, and each impression you get will join with a thousand others and culminate in wonderment that the whole world isn't talking about Bangladesh, where extraordinary kindnesses are ordinary occurrences.

A visit to this overwhelming country is not just a travel experience - it's a life experience....

Dhaka is charged with a raw energy that is at once enraging and engaging. Million of individual pursuits constantly churn together into a frenzy of collective activity - it is an urban melting pot bubbling over. Nothing seems to stand still. Even the art moves, paraded on the back of the city's sea of 600,000-plus rickshaws, which throb with colour and restlessness even when gridlocked.

Many visitors find their first moments in Dhaka overwhelming. For sure, if you stand by passively and watch while Dhaka rages on, you will certainly become vertiginous with the unstoppable activity surging past. But if you move with it, if you climb onto a rickshaw and go with the heady flow of things, you may be surprised at how comfortable you can feel in a city that seems perpetually uncomfortable with itself.

If Dhaka was a man, you might not instantly warm to him, but he would linger in your mind as one of the most dynamic characters you had the good fortune to meet."

-Lonely Planet: Bangladesh

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