Sunday, January 18, 2009

Arrived without a hitch

After a journey halfway across the globe, I arrived in Dhaka on Monday morning, just an hour behind schedule. The airport was modern and well managed, but the baggage claim was jam packed with hand wrapped bags in all manner of jute, and even blankets wrapped with twine. I don't think I have ever seen a crowd that thick around baggage claim. The whole belt must have had 10 people deep for its entire length. I managed to secure my bag with amazing speed, which was truly fortunate as I had acquired a fever and fairly bad cough during my journey, and was feeling quite poorly.

Once through emigration I was greeted with efficiency on the part of my team, with a schedule they have drafted and revised at least 5 times, a cell phone with charger, and a phone list for our entire team. We went over my journey for the first 3 days, hour by hour! Our main goal is to see the most well organized parks in the north that already have eco-cottages, previously organized by the project, community organizers interested in tourism, and many different officials from an alphabet soup of agencies who supervise the areas we will visit.

Project leadership discussed the big picture with me, and we discussed how to balance the needs of protected areas - which want to see revenue from tourism and remain in control, and private business which will likely not want to be hampered by government. We discussed the importance of my visits not simply providing plans, but leaving a legacy, and this quickly became a theme.

So we are off and running, if only I could feel better. Hopefully, I will get out and take some pictures tomorrow. I was impressed by Dhaka's shady lanes and cannot wait to explore, but right now I just have to recover from the long journey and illness I have acquired.


  1. Hope this finds you recovered and ready for the challenges ahead. What an interesting project, and how clearly you define it. I'm learning a lot. marge

  2. I hope you're feeling better. All well here.
    FYI, the USAIR story should make you feel safer. The crew did a miraculous job under difficult circumstances and there was no loss of life at all.


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