Caffeine Withdrawal, JFP, and Me

Vagabond Tim
I arrived in Bangladesh on the sixth of December. This wasn’t because I wanted to visit Bangladesh for a month but because the government of Nepal decided I needed to leave.

I looked at my options and decided on Bangladesh as I have already been everywhere else nearby, also the flight was cheap.

Having not made any plans beyond booking a night in a well reviewed hostel I left the airport and headed to what promised to be a cosy little place with WiFi and rather inexpensive rates.
It turned out to be the dirtiest little hell hole I have ever seen, buried in the ghettos of Dhaka.

My window opened onto the hallway.
The lights never turned off.
Best of all guests continually walked past and paused to stare at me through my window.
At the time I assumed it was because the window in the hallway was itself odd. Since then I have come to realize that the majority of locals have never seen a human as pale as I am.

The hotel had a shared toilet for the entire floor, I say toilet but what I mean is hole in the ground. The best part of course being that it also had neither a sink nor soap, and no bidet or toilet paper. In short it was a fair sight less than ideal.

When I woke up the following morning I walked about an hour with my fairly heavy backpack in an attempt to find either coffee, an English speaker, or a decent hotel. I found none of these things.

I hopped into CNG and headed to the opposite side of town thinking that anywhere else in Dhaka would surely be better than what I suspected was simply some kind of slum.

A CNG is essentially a motorcycle that lacks the stopping power to actually slow itself down let alone stop. It is equipped with a rusty metal cage and is powered by what amounts to an IED.
I was more sure I was going to die than I was when I jumped out of a plane at 15,000 ft.

I ended up in an area almost nice enough to be considered average by third world standards.

Feeling that perhaps I should have simply taken my chances marooned on the ocean I hopped into a bicycle tuktuk and let the winds decide my fate.

I ended up at something called a six seasons.
I still have no idea what that actually means as they quoted me 250USD per night, so I left.

One of the bellboys suggested the Washington. They asked for 150USD per night.

Finally I ended up at a guest house that charged 50USD. By this point I was too tired and angry to actually care.
The room was full of mosquitoes, the AC was broken, and it was about 28 degrees at 3am.
Luckily for me the shower was freezing so overheating was somewhat less of a problem.

The only upside to this place was that it actually had functional WiFi, it was about 25kbps, but it worked.
Using this shonky internet connection I managed to find a fellow on Couchsurfing who offered to let me crash at his place for a few days.

Istiak, pictured on the right, has a place nearto a few restaurants serving things I cannot pronounce.
One of these things is called is called fuchka which I found fairly entertaining. It was surprisingly tasty.

Since neither of us has any real plans for the month we have been wandering about Dhaka seeing what kinds of weirdness we can encounter.

One of these weirdnesses is JFP Mall.

This mall boasts that it is the largest of it’s kind in South Asia, I have yet to determine what ‘its kind’ actually means but I am fairly sure it is offensive to other malls…

JFP itself is a glittering ziggurat showcasing the true spirit of capitalism and income disparity.

JFP is 8 floors tall and spans 33 acres. It contains a movie theatre, a bowling alley, and a few dozen high end electronic stores that sell products the vast majority of locals could not afford with a years wages.

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I took a few dozen photos from within my terrifying metal cage, this is the only one clear enough to use as the roads cause vehicles to shake like a paint mixer

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During my time in Bangladesh I am staying with Istiak a friend met through couchsurfing


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We went to George’s Cafe, lauded as the best coffee in Dhaka. It probably is, but it certainly isn’t what I would call good.

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Outside the mall Dhaka resembles footage of Sirte, Libya in 2011

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Inside it looks like any random first world mall

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