Friday, March 21, 2008

Land Ho!
March 15, 2008

I found land! After being out for two weeks traveling and down for another two weeks with gastroenteritis, I was finally able to make it back to Jessore. Koli told me about a property that he found that was next to a river in a different area than where I had been previously looking. It is 37 km north of Jessore, where I had originally been looking south and east of Jessore because it is closer to Khulna (the main jumping off point for the Sundarban trips.)

Even though the land was further from Khulna than I hoped, it sounded interesting. Plus the price was half to a quarter of what the people south of Jessore wanted. I really wanted to see the land, but Koli told me not to. He said (and I know by now from experience) that as soon as they see a foreigner the land price will go way up. I can't buy land without seeing it, however, so we tried to figure out what to do. I told him that I could put on a burka, but Koli suggested that I dress up as a man instead. He said that a woman gets so much attention because there aren't many women on the streets in Jessore, but a man on a motorcycle would go unnoticed.

So manly I would be... I bought men's clothes and shoes, cut my nails, bound my breasts, put up my hair beneath my motorcycle helmet, and set off for Jessore. I have had men in Dhaka come up and ask me if I am a man or a woman on my motorcycle even when I am wearing women's clothes, so I was confident the disguise would work - at least from a distance and going 40 km/ hour. While I may be able to hide my sex, it is almost impossible to hide my skin color (no self tanners here), so I wore long sleeves and hid my face behind Koli's back when we got closer to the site.

We took the long way there so that we wouldn't run into people that Koli knows. I only had about five minutes at the site, but I liked what I saw. It is about 12 acres off of a small, paved road next to a river. It is in the middle of the country and it is not in a development corridor, so it will stay auiet for awhile. Plus, there were no houses in site.

The land next to the river had several trees (though not as many as some of the other properties that I looked at.) Behind the wooded area was a large, open rice paddy. Right now my architect is trying to determine exactly what land we want to buy - whether we want the narrower, wooded strip, or if we want part of the wooded area and part of the rice paddy behind it to make a more square-shaped plot. I may also buy some land on the opposite side of the river for a future expansion of a spa and wellness center.

The three main disadvantages of the site are a) that it is 20 minutes further from the airport than the first location, b) it is the opposite direction from Khulna, and c) that the land is owned by 40 different people. I don't think that a and b will be large issues. It still takes less time to get to the resort than to get from the north to the south end of Dhaka in rush hour traffic. Plus, people are used to traveling long times to get places here and my survey respondents ranked travel time to a resort low on their priority list. I will also have a free shuttle from the airport and bus stop so the resort will be easy for people to get to.

The forty owners issue initially worried me, but Koli assures me that all of them are interested in selling. He is working now to verify all of the paperwork. Hopefully I will not run into anymore title issues...

Here are some photos of the site.


At Tuesday, April 01, 2008 11:02:00 AM, Blogger Donny said...

what trickery! incredible the lengths you went through to ensure a good price will still be there when you buy!


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