Monday, September 2, 2019

Dhaka, The Return

As you fly into Bangladesh you notice one thing, everything is brown. Dirty, dirty brown. The transition from the gorgeous landscapes of Thailand to the ugliness that is Bangladesh is drastic. The first time I landed here my excitement gave me blinders. Now I see Dhaka as it is in all its ugly truth.

There is no hiding the fact that this city is a complete shit show. Every year up to 500,000 people move to Dhaka from the countryside. There is a reason it is the most congested city in the world. Seriously, there is no more room. The population density is 23,234 per square kilometre. Think about that for a minute. The country and city take corruption to the Olympic level. Respect for human life is minimal. Rape is rampant as is unemployment. The water is polluted, the food is poison and the air is some of the worst quality in the world. I have been sick here more in the last 7 months than I have been in the previous 20 years.

So I returned to this madness from the wonder that is Thailand. Now everything being said, living here is not post-apocalyptic, but it is as close to Mad Max as you can get. 

Small fact about living and working in Dhaka. I do not have a work visa, nobody at our school does but that is another blog post all together. I get a Visa on Arrival from immigration. That is good for 30 days. Then the school applies for an e-visa for A 90 day extension. That usually takes us to some type of break where teachers go on vacation. At that time, we get an exit stamp. When we return from the break, we repeat the process all over again. Those who are crazy enough to not leave must keep getting extensions. It is a nightmare and from what I figure illegal but my pay comes every month without issue. When I came back from Thailand, my arrival and immigration process took 20 minutes. The blue passport carries a lot of weight in the world. Anise and his big smile picked me up at the airport and off we went. I was back and in my apartment about 90 minutes after I landed. Thankfully, it was raining and nobody could see my tears.

I tossed my nasty clothes in the washer, went to the market to pick up food and snacks and headed home to get started on my lesson plans for the week. (FUN FACT: I have kept every lesson plan I have ever made. This gives me a vault from which to search for relevant material.) I made a tea, green of course. Sat down, opened up my laptop and pushed the on button. Funny, it’s not turning on. Now, I have known that my motherboard was teetering. About 2 months ago, I lost access to the keyboard and mouse tracker and have been using external components. However now, it was just not going to cooperate. Mother F***er! (In my best Samuel L. Jackson voice).

Whatever, there were quite a few shops in Banani. It should be an easy and inexpensive fix. However, nobody had a motherboard for that model. This laptop was just over a year old. The fact that it was not working was one thing but not being able to fix it was another. After a week in various shops and "we will fix it tomorrow sir", I discovered that Bangladesh is at the end of the supply chain. They are about 2 to 3 years behind when it comes to replacement parts. One shop said he could order it from China but the cost was half the price of the laptop and it would take 45 days.

I pulled out the hard drive and bought a case for it. Now I have a 1 Gig external drive with no lost data. I went to Ryan's Computers in Banani and splurged for a new laptop. A sleek HP Pavilion with Core i5. I bought my old computer in Mexico so the price was worth it just to have an English keyboard layout.

Welcome back to Dhaka. Cue Samuel L Jackson. I now have a new phone, an OPPO F11 and a new laptop. Just another cool kid with expensive toys.

Mark December 16th on the Calendar. That is the winter break and I get three glorious weeks off. I have already begun making plans. It is time to go to Sri Lanka. I am going to go diving along the south west coast, hiking in the highlands and wandering a few national parks. For now, it is back to the routine of "Life in Dhaka", the third worst city in the world to live in.

Samuel, are you there?