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  #1  
Old July 10, 2012, 08:59 AM
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Dhurr Dhurr is offline
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Default I've been living in Dhaka for the last few years. Ask me anything.

Hello, everyone! I told you all a few years ago that I would move back to Bangladesh from the US. Well, I did, and I have been in Bangladesh for the last couple of years.

I saw World Cup matches (featuring Bangladesh, of course) in the Mirpur Stadium. I've partied with Shakib and Naim (girls dig Naim. Who'da thunk it?). I've eaten in pretty much all the restaurants Fazal mamu used to (or didn't use to) rave about. I've visited Cox's Bazaar, gone scuba diving in St. Martin, been golfing in Dhaka. I've got stuck in traffic jams in cars, CNGs, buses, rickshaws (but never in bikes). I have been mugged. I have been defrauded. I have held a job that pays very well by Bangladeshi standards and a job that pays horrible EVEN by Bangladeshi standards (the one I have now). I've dealt with on-the-job politics (nothing you have EVER, EVER, EVER experienced in the US would even come close to the ferocity of most people here when it comes to office politics even in some of the most relaxed of professions). I've dealt with some very good-natured people, the kind we would always talk about when people say "Shonar Banglar Shonar Manush", and I've dealt with the kind of people - a lot of them, actually - that made Bangladesh kings of corruption for five straight years.

I've dealt with the kind of bureaucracy we used to associate with government offices back in the day in non-government institutions, and I've received swift, cordial service from government officials without offering them even an iota of bribe.

So, if you are thinking of moving back to Bangladesh, or if you have questions about my Bangladesh experiences, or if there's anything you would like to know about Bangladesh, please feel free to ask. I would try to answer all of your questions.

And oh, it's good to be back in BC.
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  #2  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:02 AM
HereWeGo HereWeGo is offline
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where can you take someone for the first date ? :P
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  #3  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:10 AM
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How much do you need to make (monthly) to lead a comfortable life in Dhaka?
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  #4  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:16 AM
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Btw, EVERY SINGLE PIECE of advice I've received from BC-ites.

Miraz bhai, with his advice about bdjobs.com, helped me land my first job. Thank you, Miraz bhai.

ialbd, your suggestions about the job market were spot on. One thing I found out, and now others are also finding out, is that WHO you know is what matters, not WHAT you know.

layperson was almost right about photos in job applications. Most of the big-name places do look for someone presentable when they are hiring; however, lots of no-name places, when they ask for photos, are looking for "a lil sum-sum" from the (always female, they never hire male) future employee .

Banglatiger84, reverse culture shock like WHOA! Thank you, brother, for the heads up! Traffic jams like you've never experienced them anywhere, being stuck, not getting ANY form of transportation to go from point A to point B unless you have your own... it is TERRIBLE out here, and anyone who hasn't been back wouldn't know. You are right about starting to feel disillusioned after six months; I am hanging in there, though, but don't know when I will run out of patience. It's been a couple of years, and it's still really, really tough.

Thebest was right about Bangladesh becoming more talibanized in some ways, but at the same time, we've become a lot more receptive to Western , non-Islamic cultures too. It's as if TWO polar opposite sets of people (the talibanized folks and their polar opposite counterparts) are the vocal minorities in this country, bickering while the silent majority just sits and listens.

akabir77 was right about Dhaka becoming very "moholla"-centric. People live close to where they work, mainly because of the terrible traffic, and so, people who work in Gulshan live in or near Gulshan, and people who work in Dhanmondi live in or near Dhanmondi. Baridhara is a GREAT place to live, in case any of you are thinking of moving back, BUT getting in and out of Baridhara could get tricky during rush hours. Also, you really cannot trust anyone, and by that, I mean anyone, from the 5-year old you just gave some money to who would point you out to the muggers, to the 60-year olds who beg you for a job, any job, an odd job, so long as they can get three meals a day and then when you hire them, they take you to the cleaners when nobody's home and you are in the shower.

One World was right about the age factor. I am on the wrong side of 30, and cannot apply for government jobs. In a lot of other jobs too, you cannot apply if you are past a certain age. Pretty weird.

yaseer, you were right. Spot on. Most of the times, I wish I had listened to you, but every now and then, I think of how it feels to be with my family again, and then I feel like it was worth it.
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  #5  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:17 AM
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Dhurr Dhurr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HereWeGo
where can you take someone for the first date ? :P
What's your goal?

1st base? Then any restaurant in Dhaka in the evenings.
2nd base? Any shisha lounge.
3rd base? A friend's or cousin's house. Botanical garden.
Home run? A friend's or cousin's house. Padma resort or any of the other resorts.

LOL. HTH.
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  #6  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:19 AM
inspyr9 inspyr9 is offline
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very good thread dhurr. My question is at the end of the day do u think u made the right decision and overall r u happy in Bangladesh?
@mufi 02 my sister moved back and she said u need at least 1/2 lakhs/month to lead a comfortable life.
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  #7  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:23 AM
Equinox Equinox is offline
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Finally an interesting thread in FC...
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  #8  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:23 AM
HereWeGo HereWeGo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhurr
What's your goal?

1st base? Then any restaurant in Dhaka in the evenings.
2nd base? Any shisha lounge.
3rd base? A friend's or cousin's house. Botanical garden.
Home run? A friend's or cousin's house. Padma resort or any of the other resorts.

LOL. HTH.
haha, no goals bro... was just checking to see where people hang out these days...
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  #9  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inspyr9
very good thread dhurr. My question is at the end of the day do u think u made the right decision and overall r u happy in Bangladesh?
@mufi 02 my sister moved back and she said u need at least 1/2 lakhs/month to lead a comfortable life.
Thanks bro. I remember back in the days, 50k/month was a very good salary. Now, 1-2 lakhs don't seem enough. If you have family and kids, you probably need more.
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  #10  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Bangladesh is a land of opportunity for everyone.

Traffic jam in Dhaka probably represents Bangladesh perfectly. Every type of transport get a chance to ply on Dhaka streets, legally. Every type of people (including muggers, fraudsters and police) can have their say in Bangladesh without much of a problem.

Welcome back Dhurr. You have been missed.
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  #11  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mufi_02
How much do you need to make (monthly) to lead a comfortable life in Dhaka?
Depends on age, family situation, etc.

IF you are single and in your mid-to-late 20s, have no dependents, if you can live and eat at baap er hotel, then 100,000 Taka/month should be A LOT MORE than enough. People in that age range and in that situation can do very, very well for even 50,000 Taka/month. In fact, I have friends who do that.

IF you have dependents, or if you are over 30, then it gets tricky. Even 150,000 Taka/month is not enough. I will tell you why.

You don't want to rent your whole life, right? At some point, you would like to own your own place, be it an apartment or a house. If you want to find a 1,000 sq. ft. for less than 5,000,000 Taka, the apartment has to be in the far reaches of the city (like Mirpur or Bashundhara) or even worse. Want to buy a house? It is cheaper to buy real estate in most parts of the United States than it is to buy in Dhaka. A 7.5 katha plot (that's about 4,500 sq. ft. of space per floor) in Mirpur 11 is going for 325,000,000 Taka and the owners still don't want to sell. That's about FOUR MILLION DOLLARS, if my calculations are correct.

Want to buy a car? The government just jacked up the taxes. A RAV-4 costs over 4,500,000 Taka. Most of you have probably never heard of Allions or Premios, which is why I've mentioned about Rav 4's price. Anyway, I hadn't heard of Allions or Premios either, before coming back to Dhaka, but those are all the rave now amongst the city's burgeoning upper-middle class)

Want to put your kids in school? Any decent school, at least the English medium ones, will charge you north of 100,000 Taka just to admit the student, and then charge 30-50 thousand taka per year for readmission fees. Need healthcare? Took a friend to a hospital (Apollo) the other day for a minor cause, and was charged over four thousand taka.

In any case, I am thinking of switching jobs, and the one I am gonna apply for is supposedly going to pay in the range I mentioned earlier, and trust me, I still don't feel comfortable.
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  #12  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:34 AM
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Dhurr Dhurr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inspyr9
very good thread dhurr. My question is at the end of the day do u think u made the right decision and overall r u happy in Bangladesh?
@mufi 02 my sister moved back and she said u need at least 1/2 lakhs/month to lead a comfortable life.
I have mixed feelings. Most of the times, I feel like I made the wrong decision, and I am actually considering moving back, but then again, that kinda depends on if I had a horrible day, a bad day, or less of a bad day. :p

There are some blessings about moving back to Bangladesh, but if you are considering it, think it through. It will NOT be easy. NOTHING in this country comes easy. Even getting the world cup tickets was not easy, no matter how much money I was willing to spend. Even getting a rickshaw is getting hard these days. Got told by three different rickshaw wallahs that they wouldn't want to take me from point A to point B. "Bhai, jaben?" "Na." That's it. They didn't even want to hear WHERE I wanted to go. They didn't bargain about the fare, or ask for a higher fare. They just refused to go. Amazing.
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  #13  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miraz
Bangladesh is a land of opportunity for everyone.

Traffic jam in Dhaka probably represents Bangladesh perfectly. Every type of transport get a chance to ply on Dhaka streets, legally. Every type of people (including muggers, fraudsters and police) can have their say in Bangladesh without much of a problem.

Welcome back Dhurr. You have been missed.
Miraz bhai, Salaam. Kemon asen? Thank you, bhai. Cancer er treatment abishkar kora shesh? Ekhon apni ki Dr. Miraz?

Definitely agree that Bangladesh is a land of opportunities for EVERYONE. Pura faka maath. Je khushi, goal dite parbe. Jei kono field a goal dite parbe, buuuut... jara bideshe theke ashche, tader age goal dite raaji hoite hobe. Dui number korte chaile Bangladesh er upore ar kono desh nai, but I think jara bideshe thake onek din, tader beshir bhag dui numberi korte pare o na, korte chai o na. Legally korte chaile besh kichu problems ache (for example, you will always pay more taxes than ALL of our ministers and MPs, since you WILL most likely pay taxes out of habit and regard for the country), but still faaka maath and there's lots of scope.
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  #14  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhurr
Depends on age, family situation, etc.

IF you are single and in your mid-to-late 20s, have no dependents, if you can live and eat at baap er hotel, then 100,000 Taka/month should be A LOT MORE than enough. People in that age range and in that situation can do very, very well for even 50,000 Taka/month. In fact, I have friends who do that.

IF you have dependents, or if you are over 30, then it gets tricky. Even 150,000 Taka/month is not enough. I will tell you why.

You don't want to rent your whole life, right? At some point, you would like to own your own place, be it an apartment or a house. If you want to find a 1,000 sq. ft. for less than 5,000,000 Taka, the apartment has to be in the far reaches of the city (like Mirpur or Bashundhara) or even worse. Want to buy a house? It is cheaper to buy real estate in most parts of the United States than it is to buy in Dhaka. A 7.5 katha plot (that's about 4,500 sq. ft. of space per floor) in Mirpur 11 is going for 325,000,000 Taka and the owners still don't want to sell. That's about FOUR MILLION DOLLARS, if my calculations are correct.
Thanks for the in-depth analysis. But I am not too sure lands in Mirpur are worth that much. My family has been living in Mirpur-10 for 15+ years and we have some land there. Your calculation for 7.5 katha for 3.25 crore comes out to be 40+ lakh per taka. We are finding it hard to sell it for 20-25 lakhs per taka. I think we are getting scammed by all those dalals
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  #15  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mufi_02
Thanks bro. I remember back in the days, 50k/month was a very good salary. Now, 1-2 lakhs don't seem enough. If you have family and kids, you probably need more.
Absolutely.

If you want to give your dependents the kinda lifestyle your family afforded you, there's NO WAY you can do so while working for someone else. You definitely need to be a business owner, no matter how big or small, because that's where the money is to be made in Bangladesh.
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  #16  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mufi_02
Thanks for the in-depth analysis. But I am not too sure lands in Mirpur are worth that much. My family has been living in Mirpur-10 for 15+ years and we have some land there. Your calculation for 7.5 katha for 3.25 crore comes out to be 40+ lakh per taka. We are finding it hard to sell it for 20-25 lakhs per taka. I think we are getting scammed by all those dalals
Probably. Lots of scamsters in Bangladesh, especially when they realize you live or have lived abroad.

Also depends on where in Mirpur. The land I was talking about was RIGHT on the main road (on 11 number bus stand), which is prime property, but even then, your numbers seem waaay too low. Where in Mirpur is your property?
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  #17  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:42 AM
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Mufi, btw, that's about 4 crores per katha, not 40 lakhs per katha.
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  #18  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:45 AM
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Its in Mirpur-10. 5 mins walk from Golchokkor
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  #19  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mufi_02
Its in Mirpur-10. Close to Ideal College or as they Amtoli
Mufi bhai, I will find out and let you know soon about real estate prices there. Is it on or near the main road, naki golir besh bhitore? Bhitorer dike price always kom hoi compared to main road.
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  #20  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:48 AM
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Btw, I wanted to buy plots in Bashundhara Group's Mouchak project (it's in GAZIPUR), and I couldn't even get plots. They were all sold out the same day the ads were published in the newspaper. Even in Gazipur, it's 300,000 Taka per katha.
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  #21  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhurr
Mufi bhai, I will find out and let you know soon about real estate prices there. Is it on or near the main road, naki golir besh bhitore? Bhitorer dike price always kom hoi compared to main road.
Thanks bhai. Main road nah. Ekta golir moddhe.
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  #22  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhurr
Even getting a rickshaw is getting hard these days. Got told by three different rickshaw wallahs that they wouldn't want to take me from point A to point B. "Bhai, jaben?" "Na." That's it. They didn't even want to hear WHERE I wanted to go. They didn't bargain about the fare, or ask for a higher fare. They just refused to go. Amazing.
I was in Bangladesh in May of this year and on one occasion I had to walk from Dhaka University to Farmgate. I was trying to get a taxi or a CNG autorickshaw. Nobody wanted to go anywhere. I didn't negotiate any fare as none of them agreed to go. It was not possible to chase the "sitting service buses" on the go as they occasionally pick passengers from Shahbag while speeding towards Sheraton. I had no option, but to walk.
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  #23  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:55 AM
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LMAO, Miraz bhai. Amar o same experience hoise onekbar, especially going from Dhanmondi to ANY direction. Eijonne hashlam. Jokhon hathte thaki, especially summer a, tokhon mejaj kharap lage, but pore jokhon chinta kori, tokhon hashi pai.
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  #24  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:56 AM
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That price is skewed because on 7.5katha plot you can build a 13-14 story building. Say you decide to make decent sized apartments 1250-1300 sqft, you can get 3 per floor. So you're looking at 39 apartments.

Say you sell each apartment at an average price of 70lakh that equals = 27.3 Crore BDT. Obviously a lot more if it's commercial space....

No chance of you getting anything like that for a plot next to say the pani-r taanki in Pallabi.
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  #25  
Old July 10, 2012, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dhurr
Miraz bhai, Salaam. Kemon asen? Thank you, bhai. Cancer er treatment abishkar kora shesh? Ekhon apni ki Dr. Miraz?
Thanks Dhurr. I am doing alright. Yes, I am now Dr Miraz and more motivated to find the cure for cancer. Recently joined King's College London as a Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry and my research team is trying to find small drug like molecules to target transcription factors that are over-expressed in cancer.
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