Postcards from the Edge

of Bangladesh


I had planned to travel to Dhaka on Thursday night, to spend Friday around a pool somewhere drinking wine, before heading off to a VSO’s Quarterly Strategic Focus Group meeting in Sirajganj (north west of Dhaka). I won’t get started on the VSO SFG, and just how the meeting played out last time I attended it in the CHT… needless to the benefits of the SFG do not make up for the 2 days travel each way from Rangamati to attend. But it’s too early in the morning for my annoyance levels to rise so high, so I’m going to stop thinking about it now.

Ok. Where was I? Right, travel to Dhaka on the 19th. Yesterday we got an email from VSO ‘forbidding’ us to travel anywhere around the country on the 18th, 19th or 20th. The verdict for a trial of the assassination of the independence hero and ‘founding father’ of Bangladesh, “Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, is due on Thursday. This can be considered the trail of the decade. Actually, it probably could be considered the trial of Bangladesh. Considering he was assassinated in 1975, and the trial has only just recently made it to the Supreme Court, goes some way to demonstrate the course of justice isn’t always straight in Bangladesh. Check me out, I’ve been reading the news….

So whatever the verdict, it stands to reason that some people are going to be unhappy, and VSO are being their usual over-cautious selves and advising against travel incase this verdict puts Dhaka (Bangladesh?) into some kind of a melt down. I don’t really know what exactly they are concerned will happen, and I really don’t think I’d be in any particular danger, but just the merest possibility that my journey to Dhaka could be made any longer or more inconvenient, is enough to for me change my plans. Will travel tomorrow night, and spend a few days in the office and go to the doctor again etc.

Obviously this is all to ensure that I get a weekend in Dhaka that involves a pool and alcohol. With the right people. VSO volunteers can be an odd bunch, and one has to plan carefully to pick the right weekend to spend time with the right people. One needs to hook up with other volunteers who also put a pool and alcohol on the top of their list of things to do, otherwise the company can be a bit … um… random, and quite honestly, I’d prefer to stay here in Rangamati. I hardly want to spend my weekend hanging out in the VSO induction flat (potentially the world’s most depressing flat), and Dhaka isn’t exactly  in my Top 10 Favourite Cities, so there has to be a reason for me go.

Reasons to go to Dhaka:

1. ‘Escape’ Bangladesh in an expat club.

2. Hang out with cool people*

3. Buy more DVDs.

4. There isn’t a Reason Number 4.

* Note to self: Find more cool people to hang out with in Dhaka.

P.S. Does anyone know if non-members can get away with swimming at the Nordic club? Prefer it to the Bagha, but officially non-members aren’t allowed to swim. I could always try to get away with it, but don’t fancy the humiliation of being asked to vacate out of the members-only-pool. I’ve met the manager-type-woman, and she doesn’t seem very subtle.


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