Today pretty much boiled down to an 8-hour commute for a 2 1/2 hour walk on the beach. St Martin’s Island is the most southerly point in Bangladesh and where Bangladeshis go for a break. The journey is roughly two hours by road and then two hours by boat from Cox’s Bazar.
We were picked up at around 7am by the tour company in a dinky minibus with the usual additional row of seating so that there was no legroom for anyone larger than a pygmy. Fortunately our first stop was for breakfast and when we returned to the van, the staff insisted that Hans and I take the two front seats next to the driver so we had much more legroom. No seatbelts, but more legroom.
I snoozed for most of the journey to the ferry terminal where we walked onto the boat. Comfy seats beckoned in the VIP area and more snoozing was undertaken as we sailed to the island.
Once on dry land again we were rickshawed to a hotel with two of the cutest puppies ever (I wanted to take them home, but there’s all those stupid quarantine regulations) where we had lunch before we took a stroll on the beach with a guide. I’m not sure why we needed a guide when we were only walking in a circle, but we got one anyway. We were stopped several times by locals who wanted to have their photos taken with the foreigners. Centre of attention again.
After ninety minutes or so, we’d circled back to the dock where we sat and waited for the ferry to begin loading up.
Back on board, we got talking to a handful of Bangladeshi students. One MBA, three mathematician MSc’s and a guy who was near the end of his Masters dissertation on comparitive religions, specialising in the Muslim faith (surprise, given where he’s from!). We had quite a good discussion until the boat set off when Hans and I returned to our comfy chairs and dozed away for two hours despite a gaggle of children running round and screaming.
We were pretty much all sleeped out by the time we got back onto the minibus so stared at the road as it went by too fast and too close to our noses on the drive back to Cox’s Bazar.
Dinner was by candlelight (power cut again) at our now-regular restaurant and we’re now sat back in the hotel room waiting for the electric to come on again so we can watch TV!