So Dhaka is quite big, you know. Its about the size of London. It has roughly the same number of inhabitants too. It would be force to be reckoned with if it weren’t for the horrible fact that 82% of people are living on less than 2 US dollars a day. (That's in Bangladesh, not just Dhaka.)
(Another appalling statistic: the female adult literacy rate is 30%.)
It’s a hard place. Yesterday we saw a man whose leg was bigger than the entire rest of his body all together. He was using it as a mattress.
Anyway, we have been touristing it up big-time; I don’t think we will be back all that soon, so we have to make the most of it. We are now touristically zonked out.
Our first stop was the War Museum. It was an upsetting place. Bangladesh has only been itself for 40 years, and boy was it a bloody battle for independence. There was photo after photo of raped and murdered women, children with bullets in their stomachs, boy soldiers with mutilated features.
A tiny t-shirt hung on the wall, with the caption ‘…’s 4-month daughter was crushed to death deliberately under a soldier’s boot. This is her shirt.’
There was a beat poem by Allen Ginsberg that made me very sad. Especially as even after independence, when the manmade atrocities abated, the Bangladeshis had to contend with hideous famines and natural disasters.
To cheer ourselves up we took a boat out onto the ghats and watched the boatmen doing their thing. Everyone smiled and waved, occasional mouths dropped open at the sight of us. The usual, then.
At the Pink Palace there were huge numbers of locals visiting on their Friday holiday. People were very interested in us, and followed us around the exhibits. Outside, we were surrounded by a sea of friendly faces as we met a friendly couple of lads from Comilla. Everyone posed for photos.