|A Happy People|
Yes, there's crushing poverty in some areas, but a surprising lack of materialism and people generally have a great deal of tolerance and joy, despite having to fight continuously for places in line and space in general. For all the chaos and crowdedness, there's an amazing semblance of order. Hate crowds? Don't worry, there's plenty of uncrowded countryside to visit (anyone who spends a "vacation" month in Dhaka would have to be masochistic IMHO). Prices are impossibly cheap for food and lodging and while the cuisine isn't as good as some of the neighboring countries, it's certainly not bad. I've tried to stay away from the Western joints and, apart from an occasional Coke...something I never drink at home....I've tried to stay local foodwise. They do like it HOT and since I'm a chile
There is some argument whether Bangladesh is a 3rd world or 2nd world country; whatever the case, once the political situation gets worked out (and it will, since from a simplistic standpoint, it involves the jealousy of two older women in the battle for political power), I can easily visualize more investment in the country. This is a very, very hardworking people, proud of their country and ready to improve their generally poor lifestyle. As I've mentioned, there's not a lot of materialistic attitude, but part of that probably has to do with the seemingly impossible ideas of owning much beyond basic survival items. At this point, with a hardworking attitude and a very inexpensive labor force, it's only a matter of time before the big companies show up and exploit it; in this case exploit isn't necessarily a dirty word.
There's enough of an organized tourism industry that one who prefers group tours could easily manage, but it's also very possible to travel here independently; though it isn't always easy there's a certain challenge that independent travelers enjoy and you will certainly meet a few challenges which will generally tend to work themselves out if you stay calm and flexible and remember that you're in a place where hostile displays of attitude will generally not improve your situation. While English isn't as widely spoken as in India, there's almost always someone around who will happily step in and help. With the Sundarbans, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the long white sand beaches, the crazy dreamlike Dhaka and some of the historic Islamic and Buddhist sites, there's plenty of reason to visit. In my 29 days I was able to only touch on some of the major highlights and I could easily envision spending a completely different 30 days here.
Off to Kolkata tomorrow, so this ends my Bangladesh blog. Hope it has been enjoyable for my readers and remember that I'm happy to answer any questions either here or on the two best Bangladesh forums: Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet Thorntree.