Met Tanvir at the Aktel office. Pavel (which I learned to be Rajibul’s nickname) met us, and we went to both of their houses to get their bags. Hopped in a CNG, and grabbed Ishti, and went to Motijheel. From there, grabbed rickshaws down to Saderghat. This is all on a Thursday night, so traffic in the city is ridiculous. We get caught in many jams. Our rickshawallwah told us he was real happy to have a foreigner in his rickshaw on our long ride to the boat terminal.
We got to the boat with 30 minutes or so to spare. We met Mishu there, who also works for Aktel. Found our rooms. My water bottle decided this was the best time to open up and leak all over my backpack.
I took some photos of the dock area before we left. Tons of people going home for the weekend. Boats from here go all over
Had 3 dinners. First was Pavel’s parota and meat curry. Then we had my sandwich, fish cakes cookies, and fruit. We bought some apples. Than later we ordered some rice, vegetables, and fish and enjoyed it on a table in one of our cabins.
We spent the night talking, playing cards, and looking outside the boat, and sitting at the bow of the boat right below where the captain looks out, so we wouldn’t distract his view. Played a card game called 9-card…was fun and addicting, and can’t wait to share it in the
The boat captain doesn’t have permanent lights aimed at the water, but has a sweeping spotlight he turns on every minute or so, he does a quick sweep of the water ahead of him to look for smaller craft, then turns it off. I guess it’s smaller craft’s responsibility to move. The entire time I can see other boats on the river, all shapes and sizes, but mostly launches like ours. They pass by all night. Showed me how important river transportation is for the country. The rivers are incredible. I can barely see the sides sometimes, of course it’s dark, but I can make out a few lights. In the water, there are baskets with a few candles in them, I think these are lighting the way for the captains.
We docked in
This part of
The bus ride, my friends said was horrible, worst they’d ever been on. But I didn’t’ think it was too bad, maybe I was expecting a lot worse. My seat on the bus, like most I encounter here, is too short for me, my knees don’t actually fit between the two seats. So I have to sit the 4.5 hour journey sitting with knees into the aisles. This kind of a bus is a “local bus” because it stops for everyone, and people get to stand in the aisles. The trip from
Had several coconuts during this trip, and one yesterday I forgot to mention. All of these coconuts are still ripening, green exterior, but that’s why there are supposed to be so good. The person first cuts off the top, and pokes a hole in the inner skin. You drink the coconut water first, which is apparently really good for you and high in minerals. Then you hand the drained coconut back to them. They cut it in half, and you scoop out the coconut with a broken off piece of coconut shell. It’s soft since its not fully ripe yet, a ripe coconut has a hard interior. They’re pretty good, the water is my favorite part. (pics: cutting the coconut to drink the water, eating the inside after cutting it open)
Each ferry crossing took lots of time. Sometimes they waited for the ferry to fill up, sometimes it was on the other side and it had to come back over, sometimes there were so many buses we had to wait our turn. One time waited half an hour. Oh well, it gave us time to stretch our legs.
The town itself only had few concrete structures outside of hotels. I was the only foreigner I saw the whole time. Town is mostly shacks selling goods and for living. Streets are packed, but it’s not big at all.
You have to pay to sit on the beach chairs, only about Tk20.
10th-4th in Kuakata 11/10
Woke up early for the sunrise. Took two rickshaw vans from our hotel about a mile up the beach to a spot which is better for sunrise watching, why? I still don’t know why. Well this morning we saw lightening and heard thunder in the distance…uhoh…the sky was getting brighter, but then it started raining. We sat under some umbrellas, but those only leaked onto us. So, after the sun “rose” we left. We couldn’t actually see it because of the clouds, even less than the sunset the night before. But again, I can verify the sun also rises on the
In the afternoon, after much card playing we went out. Pavel and I went to the market to buy some stuff. I watched a fight (#9) and then decided to buy a seashell with my name engraved in it in Bangla. After dropping it off at the hotel, we went to meet Tanvir and Ishti at some fish market. Well it was a long way off, and I wasn’t going to bring my camera because I thought it was just the same as the fish markets in
They bought some fish, and we left soon after, took the vans back to the hotel. We packed up, and headed for the bus.
The bus ride home was uneventful. Ate some parota and egg for dinner. At one ferry stop, had some coconut. We had the same ferry stops to
We arrived at in the morning to Gabtali bus station, in the northwest side of the city. I took a taxi back home, it was easy, and I didn’t mind paying a bit more. I’d been on enough buses!
Got ready for class. A slow day. Was kind of tired and wasn’t focusing well.
After class, came home and had a quick lunch. I was heading down to BUET to meet Dr. Mizanur Rahman for only the second time. Was glad I was going to get to see him again. But I got there and he had to cancel the meeting, they’re doing a lot of testing of students right now and it wasn’t a good time. We decided I’ll come by next week, but I’ll make sure to call before I come down.
I also had had plans to meet with Ayon at
After Ayon and I went to Dhanmondi to see Saquib’s photographs in his university’s photo club’s exhibition. It’s the first time his photos are being seen by the public. It was pretty cool that he was getting people to see his work. I was very impressed. I know it’s just a school club, but I’ve never had my work of anything really publicly displayed. Cool to see the other 41 photos (3 were his making 44) as well. (pics: Ayon observing, Saquib and one of his three photos on display)
After class I was intending to have a nice easy day. Buy the things I’ve been meaning to buy, and hang out with Megan. It went perfectly. Went to buy computer speakers, and its nice to finally listen to Radiohead’s new album with real speakers.
Megan and I went to FFC for dinner, got lots of delicious fried chicken. Here there was a great example of things on the menu being written incorrectly. In one place one the menu, it said potato wedges…mmm delicious. However, on the other side of the menu, it said the meal came with potato wages. I asked Megan, “Will we be getting paid in potatoes tonight?”
Oh, and I saw a Chili’s the other day. Same exact sign of the Chili’s in the
And wanted to mention how big of jerks CNG drivers are (and actually at the time of posting this there was an article in the paper about it!), and why I don’t even bother using them anymore. Everytime you talk with them, they never want to go where you want to go. Why not? I’m going to pay you money for you to take me somewhere, what are you gonna do instead, sit here and do nothing!!?!?! They never want to go where you want to go. And they scoff at your when you tell them. And if they do want to go, they never want to use the meter like they are supposed to. Instead they charge an incredible amount of the trip. Unregulated supply and demand in its worst state.
Today after class I spent most of the day at home. I left for a little bit to pick up my photos of the advert from Benchmark. I can’t post them yet, not until the ad is out, so you’ll have to wait. But I look ridiculous in my opinion, but it’s what they were looking for, not me. Pavel also said they have more trips in the planning and they’ll def invite me come time.
So for lack of anything else to talk about, I’ll bring up the bus loading process here. The ticket counter is on the side of the street. People hang around the ticket counters, but don’t buy the tickets until the bus is actually in sight. Now, once spotted, sometimes it could be a few minutes until the bus actually gets there, because of traffic, but sometimes it makes it there in a few seconds if it can plow its way through. Either way, it’s not until the bus actually pulls up that people decided it’s time to buy their ticket. Then there’s a mad rush to get on, pushing a bit, along with pushing to buy the tickets at the counter. The bus starts to pull away before everyone is on. The last few have to do a bit of a run and jump. The ticket counter guy doesn’t do much to help either. He sometimes will refuse to sell you a ticket until he sees the bus. But this can be understood since if a competing bus company is operating the same route comes, and it shows up before his company’s bus, people will choose that bus over his. In this situation, is common practice to refund the customer’s ticket, so he can ride the other bus. So to avoid this, the counter guy waits until the bus actually comes near so they don’t have to give refunds.