Saturday, August 23, 2008

Some of the reasons it took 11 1/2 hours to get from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar

We saw rickshaw accidents and trucks off the road, but no dropped passengers while traveling.

The backs of trucks and rickshaws are vividly hand painted with designs and scenes, which is nice considering how much time in a day tailgating drivers are looking at the backs of vehicles.

Because we missed our window of opportunity to leave at 5, we ran into all the horrors of Bangladeshi traffic. Surprisingly, the roads are generally in good condition, but they are two-laned, narrow with no shoulders, and overburdened with an array of users including trucks, buses, rickshaws, CNG (gas-powered golf carts), farm equipment and pedestrians.

But worse of all is that while there are traffic rules, they are ignored. While there are traffic police, they generally stay off to the side out of harm's way.

Here's how it works. You are supposed to drive on the left, UK style, but if you really did that you'd plow into rickshaws etc, so everyone drives in the middle of the road as fast as they can and then at the last minute the driver who loses heart first veers sharply to the side, sending rickshaws scattering. Does it sound like a game of Chicken?

There you go. Now, to drive in Bangladesh you also have to do the following: tailgate, have no respect for human life, even children, jam on brakes frequently, and sound your horn as often and for long as possible. The cacophony of horns is so blaring that the warning has lost all meaning. Passengers typically emerge from long voyages with whiplash and raging migraines.

I have just never seen anything like it.

Cows interrupt game of chicken in village near Chittagong

Poor infrastructure makes for big traffic problems in Bangladesh, but this wooden-bottomed bridge outside Cox's Bazar was still picturesque.

No comments:

Blog Archive