Lakes & Streets of Dhaka

A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me that: a) Dhaka is the 8th most populous “city proper” in the world – by which I believe they mean not metropolitan area, but defined city boundary even if it’s a city-province, like Chongqing in China; and b) Dhaka is BY FAR the most densely-populated “city proper” in the list: Dhaka, according to Wikipedia, contends with a population density of 42,659 per square kilometer. Next-most-dense is Cairo, with a mere 31,399 per square kilometer – and a mere 9,500,000 total inhabitants to Dhaka’s 14,399,000 – all, of course, always according to Wikipedia. London has to manage only 5,614 per square kilometer.

I’m not a city person. Truly, I’m not. Even when I lived in NYC I spent as much time as possible in the nearest large park I could find. When I visit London, I try to lose myself whenever possible in Hamsptead Heath or at least Hyde Park. So here in Dhaka, I look for zones of some calm. And I do my walking only in the mornings before traffic starts to build, if I’m able to choose. By evening, I’m home trying to shut out the sound of traffic.

And let me say, for such a dense city, this place really does a remarkably good job of creating some sense of spaciousness: in my area, there are lakes everywhere. They provide a sense of space and nice reflections, as you see in many of these photos. There are also walking paths along them, and often benches and even some cute animal sculptures kids can play on. Even the older and more dense parts of Dhaka have a good smattering of parks and old buildings on spacious grounds hidden amongst the busy streets, if you’re up early enough to beat traffic and explore some of the lovely historic buildings tucked into downtown. (That’s on the agenda for a future blog post, fear not.)

For the moment, I’m showing you just some things I’ve seen during my morning strolls or walks to the local grocery or bakery. Especially when I catch it during the quiet hours of the morning, Dhaka can be quite appealing even to those of us who find cities off-putting. Further down, you’ll see flowers in a gallery of circular photos. Jean, these are for you: either because of the season or because, well, all that density – there aren’t a lot of flowers here! Sorry, that mountainside in Port au Prince offered more flowers, and the beach at Cox’s offered more shells. So here, I think I may do a series on the stores and other signs. We’ll see – I’m considering it. 😊 Input welcome. Enjoy.

Another impressive thing I’m trying to show with these photos is how well most land is used: garden plots snugged in between street and lake; nurseries tucked between buildings or at the end of bridges; chickens feeding in a small plot next to the lake. And construction everywhere, piles of bricks and scaffolding omnipresent.

5 responses

  1. Mary Louise Jaffray

    Hi Paul:

    Wonderful pictures. I agree with you whole heartedly Sp? regarding the use of space. The reflections are really nice too. I’m trusting that this is just early morning mist rather than air pollution? Looks white enough just to be the moisture and the surface of the water is great. Love the bridge and especially the drop by guest outside the window. Is that from inside where you live? and a regular visitor or just a happy coincidence.

    Really looking forward to your being back in the area at least for a short visit. Keep a slot open for us if there is time after your unwinding/transition time.

    Please update regarding travel dates, time and if a pickup would be helpful. I know you said February, but forgot when. Probably could actually find it in the email.


    Mary Louise and I’m sure also John but he is in Glendale again, this time giving his brother some support and driving for a post double hernia repair recovery and getting him over to visit his wife who is now in a care home since a little before Thanksgiving, having a broken hip and dementia both are around 87 years old. Bob is 5 years older than John.

    January 18, 2020 at 04:45

  2. Andrew Deppe

    Paul: Thanks for the beautiful photos and your impressions of Dhaka — they really give me a sense of the city. Will miss you in Sonoma County this March, but will see you sometime soon one way or the other. Cheers, Andrew

    January 18, 2020 at 09:02

  3. Sam Craig

    Hi Paul, thanks for this post! It’s really interesting to see Dhaka since I have almost no conception of the city. I find it especially interesting how many of your images have few people in them – just seems hard to manage given the population of it all. Wish you the best in the couple weeks ahead!

    January 18, 2020 at 16:06

  4. Yes, Paul, I concur with Sam–your pictures are sometimes so pretty and so full of flowers that it’s hard to think of this as the most densely populated city in the world. Nice that they’re able to carve out some beauty there!

    January 25, 2020 at 13:11

    • I choose to walk during the rare morning calm before the streets fill up – and indeed, each morning it slightly amazes even me that there aren’t many people or cars about, since my walk home is like a game of dodge-em, what with cars and bikes, rickshaws, people, and motorbikes all moving in any given direction in any available opening…

      January 26, 2020 at 16:24

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