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.