Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bangladesh Day 4: Disappointment in Dhaka

Around 2pm I felt like I'd been on "The Amazing Race" and today hit the snarl of traffic that led to my elimination. It is 2 days to EID and I have never experienced such a logjam. Not in Manhattan, not in Manila, not even in LA during World Cup. It's been a marvelous journey so far, but my greatest anticipation has been concentrated in visiting Shuktara Handmade Paper project. It is there that most of the creative paper making seems to take place. Unlike Biborton that makes lots of a few specific styles, they seem to have a more of a focus on inventing new patterns, colors and textures. They make the marble paper I and my customers love so much. They also have the new jute sheet we've worked on developing together over the last year. They have a large order of it that I was expecting to retrieve and take home in my suitcases. But after going about 17 miles in six hours we were forced to turn back. The heat, diesel fumes, and an agitated driver who backed into a truck (exploding the back window so using air conditioning was out of the question) while arguing with a bus driver who wouldn't let him merge did not help. Shifali, our guide, advised that we not try to go to Bonoful tomorrow. So it was with a heavy heart that I began planning our escape from Dhaka. Confined to our hotel for four days and only going places that are walkable did not sound appealing to any of us and Hong Kong for a few extra days was looking pretty good. But when we finally arrived at the Prokritee office at 4pm Suraiya said we should try to go to Bonoful tomorrow. "You've come so far and they are expecting you." She will accompany us and we are to leave at 6am, two hours earlier than our start today. This project is only two hours away so maybe we will make it in six. I feel like it's a non-elimination round! go to Bangladesh Day 5


  1. I hope you made it to Shuktara! It's been great to keep up with your trip. Thanks for posting. Can't wait to hear more once you get home.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you today. I almost cried when I read you weren't making it to Shuktara. I could feel the disappointment. Hoping today is more successful in what you want to do. Thanks for sharing this trip with us. It "almost" feels like we're there too - we can sense and feel the country a bit.