Dhaka, Bangladesh Report of what it's like to live there - 03/02/08

Personal Experiences from Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh 03/02/08

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I've lived in many places.

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2. How long have you lived here?

Over a year.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

I work for the U.S. Government.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

It's best to fly through England or United Emirates.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most are big and close to embassy; getting anywhere here takes time because of the traffic.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Costs are low for local items and those are plentiful. Imported items can be expensive.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Nothing.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W, plus many good restaurants.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Plentiful and inexpensive. Most people have multiple domestics both male and female.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

There are no problems with ATMs.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Yes and quite inexpensive.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

None.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Nothing is wheelchair accessible here.

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Right, like the U.S.

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2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Roads can be bad so SUVs are a good choice; older vehicles are generally better as there are many accidents.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Not high speed but usable and about US$20 per month.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Get one. They are cheap.

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

Calls are inexpensive over regular phone lines.

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Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

At NGOs.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Relaxed.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Unhealthy.

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Some but not in the diplomatic enclave.

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Get all your dental and medical checkups before you come.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot and humid; hot, humid and rainy; or dry and cool.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

Great! They are top notch in both elementary and middle school. I don't know about high school.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Big.

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2. Morale among expats:

Good.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Good.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes to all.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I know of.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Eat, shop, play tennis, go swimming, or hang out at the clubs.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Pearls, ratan furniture, silk, brass, embroidery, material, etc.

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9. Can you save money?

Yes. If you don't go overboard on buying all the wonderful handicrafts available.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

No. The morale at the Embassy is very bad. It is an extremely stressful place to work. If I was not attached to the embassy, yes, I would like it here.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Snow boots.

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3. But don't forget your:

Umbrella.

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4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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