The bells on the rickshaws ring so often and so regularly that it sounds like pleasant, metal rain. It’s easy to imagine shouting, and pushing, and honking in the photos – but, in reality, the sound of Dhaka traffic is the sound of pleasantly tinkling, politely ringing bells. The streets of Dhaka are chaos, but it’s a meditative chaos.

Standing over the angular buildings that make up downtown Dhaka, one feels the humans pumping through the city: standing on their rickshaws to stare over trucks, poles slung over their shoulders to balance the weight, kids dancing through the traffic. At the pier, the human tumult continues to the water where boatmen smile and hawkers bark. On the floor of the markets, excess produce is trampled and forgotten. The city Dhaka does many things. But it never stops.

Journalist William Langewiesch wrote in The Outlaw Sea that, “Bangladesh is not so much a nation as a condition of distress” – a sentiment shared by Jody Rosen, who wrote “The Bangladeshi Traffic Jam that Never Ends.” Sometimes the streets flood to knee height, other times there’s nothing wrong whatsoever; it doesn’t really matter because the traffic jam in Dhaka never lets up.

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Dhaka Bangladesh Asia