Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dhaka's Best Bargains
By Hitoishi Chakma

It does not really matter if Korea sparkles, Singapore shines or Malaysia is truly Asia! In different times of the year, many countries around the world might advertise many “shopping fiesta” offers on the TV channels. But every time you see those advertisement ask yourself if you really require or desire to go to another country for mere shopping! Well, the answer might always turn out to be 'yes' (because I know of many who answered it) but now here are the reasons for why you should stay put in Dhaka and merrily go to the places mentioned below!

Tee off
If you are sick of wearing expensive T-shirts, the option for you is cheaper shirts! Now 'cheap' does not always associate products of horrendous quality. You will be amazed about how you get to learn about things in life and then get to use it. A lesson I learnt in a sort of peculiar way (don't ask) is 'Bangobazar', a place that offers you a sea of choice at a reasonable price if you have a tongue healthy enough to haggle with the shopkeepers with or without shame! Buying products can be a bit tricky from this place. The 'trick' is to keep your eyes peeled for the better products while roaming around and once you like one to NOT to let it show on your face that you liked that. Try to act a bit like you actually are hating the T-shirt. Mind you the shopkeepers are cunning!

A really good place for really great shoes in Dhaka is located in a place that has a name totally unlike shoes. 'El-eee-phant road' is the place probably even your grand pa and maws shopped for shoes in and the good thing is that Elepahant road do not house shops that house shoes only for your grand-relatives anymore. Converse, good ol' sneakers or even 'pons er sandal' everything can be found right there and with a mouth as fast and charismatic as Chris Tucker's you might just be able to get for yourself the very best deal, which you will be marveling about for days after you get home.

Fancy being a nerd?
These days, being a nerd is actually a cool new hip fad. And I learnt about it just two days ago! Luckily Nilkhet has been there where it is, since god knows when to help us in being a nerd. That does not mean all these years before being a nerd became hip, Nilkhet sat ducks. It has always been buzzing with people and it still does. Books, tomes, scrolls of all sorts and sizes can be found there at prices ranging from the ground to the sky. The bargaining usually starts at the sky and then free falls onto a medium sized tree and if you are lucky the branches might sometimes give in and the price might drop to the ground. And that is the best part about this place.

Not so delicate delicacies
These days it is also the time to let go of your personality as a man/woman of expensive taste because it helps your wallet . Sometimes also the purse! What the opposite sex might like you to be these days is 'adventurous'! How you be adventurous? Ahem, go and grab daalpuri, kimapuri, jhalmuri or good ol' biriyani. The foods mentioned here, I am pretty sure are truly local that you cannot find in any other city except if the city is in Bangladesh. Prices starting from just a buck to halting below the fifty taka mark, these delicious foods possess enough enchantment (!) to actually get a person addicted once s/he gets the taste of it. And the best thing about these is that even YOU can afford it! Well… I did not mean to mean anything in particular!

Cool Rides
Next time you board a rickshaw listen carefully what the rickshawpullers call their rickshaws. Garee! Well, since the name is sort of cool (a lot actually) and these vehicles are totally cool (a friend from the Netherlands could not stop talking about the rickshaws who even talked about how often they go and take a leak on the roadside) it should at least once get featured in 'Top Gear'. Anyway the fun about riding a rickshaw gets full blown when the rickshawpuller pulls it as fast as he can, swerving, maneuvering past and smoking buses, trucks and cars! It is a very good way to satiate your 'need for speed' for all you out there without a driving license until you finally get old enough to get a license and accumulate enough money to buy a … not a Ferrari but a rickshaw!!.

So once in a while all of us should try to forget about the traffic jams and other inconveniences in a city like Dhaka and try to realize that there are so many things to do out here, so many things to love that we have always overlooked. All we need actually is right here and they are at most times the best!



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