Struggles of going somewhere new
Anyone who says "every mistake is an adventure" has clearly never gotten lost in this side of the world. Going to a new place in Bangladesh is as much of an adventure as wiping a runny nose with sandpaper, and here's why.
Getting lost doesn't leave you totally helpless. In most cases, you will have friends who you can call on in times of need. Unless that need is for accurate directions, in which case you're flat out of luck. The moment you ask for directions, they will turn into greater bumbling idiots than they already were. Firstly, the instructions will be convoluted and more difficult to keep up with than a class lecture. Then, once you've finally deciphered the code and reached whatever hellhole you've been directed to, you'll realize you could have easily taken a shorter path. In fact, a small detour to Cox's Bazar would still have allowed you to get there quicker.
Maybe your friends aren't picking up, and you want to hasten the process of finding the address you need to get to. This would be the right time to ask the locals, right? Wrong. Not only will they do the same ridiculous stuff your friends do, they'll also make you realize that choices aren't always a good thing. When you have four people giving five different directions, the direction you choose will almost certainly be wrong. Oh well, it's not like you wanted to get somewhere on time or anything.
When these options have failed you and you're already running late, you might decide to call upon the wonders of modern technology. I am, of course, referring to Google Maps. While this has been accurate a few times, more often than not it simply devours mobile data like Google Chrome devours RAM.
It would be alright if that's all that went wrong. Given how infrequently the street view is updated, all of the landmarks you see in the pictures have been gone for twenty four years. This leaves you more than a little disoriented, while the people around you will wonder why you've walked along the same stretch of road four times on the trot, trying to find a store that no longer exists.
The last and most important hitch won't be because of your friends, random pedestrians, or Google Maps. The one thing that will constantly trip you up is the city itself. Not only are there innumerable side alleys that have no written record anywhere, but sometimes there are different places with the same name. Did you know that there are two separate locations in Banani, thirty minutes apart, that have the same road numbers and house numbers? There is no differentiating between the two on a map, so good luck to you if you had an appointment at one and ended up at the other. I know I did. Let's not even get started on the road numbers in Dhanmondi. With the combination of old, new and young adult road numbers, I pity those who have to explain their destinations to a chauffeur.
Going to new places is fun, however. The feeling of accomplishment upon successfully arriving at a new location almost makes the effort worth it. Almost.
With a heart of ash and a PC of potato, Wasique Hasan could use some help. Send memes to cheer him up at facebook.com/hasique.wasan