By Me Yesterday: Google Street View Comes to Bangladesh

It begins:

The newest country available on Google Street View: Bangladesh.

The tech titan on Thursday unveiled 360-degree panoramic images of streets around the teeming capital, Dhaka, the port city of Chittagong and dozens of other locations in the densely populated country sandwiched between India and Myanmar.

Bangladesh, home to some 150 million people, is the 65th nation for which the Google Maps feature is available.

Video: Rickshaw ride in Dhaka, Bangladesh

More on my recent Bangladesh trip: Here’s a one-minute video (embedded below) that I recorded while riding in a cycle rickshaw in the capital, Dhaka.

As you’ll see, the metropolis teems with activity. In the video, you can hear honking horns and people talking. And then, when we come to a stop, you’ll notice some curious onlookers.

Previous Bangladesh posts:

Mobile phones in Bangladesh

Here’s another image from my recent Bangladesh trip that I wanted to share. This photo is part of the “Faces of Bangladesh” photoset I mentioned yesterday, though I didn’t include it in yesterday’s post.

The faces of Bangladesh

Consider this: In 2009, even dock workers in Bangladesh own mobile phones equipped with cameras.

I was exploring Sadarghat, Dhaka’s riverfront area, a place crowded with passenger ferries and cargo ships. I was taking pictures and talking to folks when I noticed a cluster of people gathered behind me. I turned around to find that these guys (pictured above) were snapping cell phone photos of me.

In Bangladesh — one of the world’s poorest countries — nearly half of the population lives on less than 1 US dollar per day. But mobile phone penetration has grown rapidly in recent years.

I was able to purchase, for example, a SIM card and plenty of minutes from a Grameenphone (Bangladesh mobile operator) counter at the airport in Dhaka. SIM cards are available for purchase throughout Asia, of course, but Bangladesh sees few tourists. And throughout the country, many people sported cell phones; I was frequently asked to pose for cell phone photos, and I even a noticed a few people recording cell phone videos of me.

I also found the mobile reception throughout the country to be excellent; I didn’t suffer a single dropped call in eight days, as I might have if I were traveling in the US. (On the down side, I was supposed to receive MMS support via Grameenphone — a service not often provided with pre-paid plans — but that support didn’t materialize.)

For more on cell phone usage in Bangladesh, you can find an article from the IDA (International Development Association) on the World Bank site.

And the Wikipedia page for Grameenphone founder Iqbal Quadir contains more info on technology and development in Bangladesh.

The faces of Bangladesh

As I mentioned yesterday, I recently returned to Bangkok after eight memorable days in Bangladesh. Here are some images I snapped during the trip. The entire photoset of 14 images is on Flickr here.

The faces of Bangladesh
A laborer in Dhaka

The faces of Bangladesh
A man playing a horn in downtown Dhaka

The faces of Bangladesh
A man at a market

The faces of Bangladesh
Looking out at the countryside

The faces of Bangladesh
A man in Dhaka

The faces of Bangladesh
A boy in Dhaka

The faces of Bangladesh
Shop clerks

Again, the full photoset is on Flickr here.