Bangladesh is one of the poorest countries in the world and hence a Mecca for the apparel industry with its insatiable appetite for cheap labor.  No, not sweat shops, just factories with thousands of people working in hot, sweaty conditions.  Bangladesh is no garden spot and the oppressive heat is year round.

Modern history of Bangladesh extends back to when it was part of Pakistan.  Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is surrounded by India on all sides except for a small border with Myanmar to the far southeast and the Bay of Bengal to the south.  The name Bangladesh means "Country of Bengal.”

Bangladesh was formerly known as East Pakistan.  Western Pakistan was separated from Eastern Pakisatn by 1,000 miles.
Despite their common religion of Islam, the ethnic and linguistic gulf between the two wings, compounded by an apathetic government based in West Pakistan, resulted in the independence of Bangladesh in 1971.  After independence there have been continual political turmoil, with thirteen different heads of government, and at least four military coups.  This political unrest continues.

Hartals, or strikes, are a very common means of political protest in Bangladesh. JoDon was advised to stay in the Hotel during one such an event.  The main opposition Awami League expected a million people to attend a rally to be held in the heart of Dhaka in a campaign to oust the government. However, a transport strike that seemed suspiciously ”engineered by the government” cut off Dhaka from the rest of the country for two days prior to and on the day of the rally. Police reported more than 12,000 troops had been deployed in the capital and five battalions of elite forces were on guard in and around the protest site, which was very close to the hotel. Returning from a quick early morning shopping trip, there were enough cops on every corner to suppport that number.  From the protection of the hotel room, the rest of the day was spent watching hordes of people walk down and later back up a major city street devoid of traffic.

The population of Bangladesh ranks seventh in the world, but its area of approximately 55,600 sq mi is ranked ninety-fourth, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world.  It is the fourth largest Muslim majority nation, but has a slightly smaller Muslim population than the Muslim minority in India. Bangladesh has annual monsoon floods, and cyclones are frequent.
Despite sustained domestic and international efforts to improve economic and demographic prospects, Bangladesh remains an underdeveloped and overpopulated nation. The per capita income in 2004 was a low US$440.

Although two-thirds of Bangladeshis are farmers, more than three quarters of Bangladesh’s export earnings come from the garment  industry,  which began attracting  foreign  investors in
Dhaka was once known as the most filthy and polluted capitals of the world but Bangladesh has made great strides to clean it up.  Taxi’s and small motorized richshaw’s are now powered by natural gas (those that aren't powered by feet) which has greatly reduced the air pollution.
the 1980s due to cheap labour. In 2002, the industry exported US$5 billion worth of products. The industry now employs more than 3 million workers, 90% of whom are women. A large part of foreign currency earnings also comes from the remittances sent by expatriates living in other countries.
Bangladesh suffers from so much it is hard to begin.  The governments have always been noted as some of the most corrupt in the world and the traffic jams are some of the worst in the world due to the lack of infrastructure.  Women beggars holding babies are everywhere on the streests trying to solicit money from passing cars.

About half of the guys were gray plaid skirts with western styled shirts with flip flops.  The women are normally much more brightly dressed with colorful sari’s and headdress.  The people generally are slightly built, very thin with dark skin and dark eyes.

While in Bangladesh on business, one of the factory owners befreiended JoDon and invited her to dinner and rest before catching a 2 am flight back to Hong Kong.  The picture shows JoDon in a sari that was presented as a friendship gift and the grandmother.

Prior to El Regalo