Off to the seaside

Our final trip within Bangladesh is to Cox’s Bazar and today pretty much just consisted of the bus ride there. We woke and packed, about to leave our room when reception called us to let us know Mahmud was downstairs. We were expecting him to meet us at the bus office, so that was a pleasant surprise. He’s certainly keen to take good care of us!

After a quick rickshaw ride over, we had breakfast with him and he then left for the office while we waited for the bus to arrive. Arrive it did, and we climbed on board our second long-distance coach in two days. Again, it was fairly comfy but not as good as the one from the day before. Still, far better than the ones in India – as are the roads, incidentally. The overnight bus from Bangalore to Goa had bounced around like a ship on high seas. The road surfaces in Bangladesh are generally very good.

There’s not a lot to write about the journey. It’s amazing how many people walk out into the road without looking, though. Or who look, see something so huge bearing down on them their brains can’t comprehend it and then just stroll out anyway. I think most of them go by sonar as they trust their hearing to pick up the blast of a horn more than they trust their eyes that there’s a big chuffing bus bearing down on them. One woman came so close to getting wiped out by the truck in front of us I actually closed my eyes.

We did have one delay just outside Chittagong, but neither of us know why. The bus seemed to be pulled over by a police officer for some reason, and then just sat there for almost an hour before simply setting off again.

Eventually, we arrived in Cox’s Bazar and we jumped off to be greeted by the usual bunch of rickshaw-wallahs wanting our business. We took two for the short ride to the hotel and then laughed in their faces when they asked for 200Tk for the journey. Hotel reception gave them short shrift and they left with the more correct fare of 10Tk each.

The room’s the usual and fairly spacious, and we do have a TV. Also, it’s Saturday and they usually have ESPN on the TVs here so I can watch the footie. Only… there’s a power cut. The generator seems to be working fine to power the lights but the satellite feed’s down. ARGH.

We did take a short wander out to get some money, food and snacks. Hans ended up in conversation with a small girl who followed him for ages, trying to give him a little starfish in exchange for some “bakhsheesh”. He ended up running around a gaggle of rickshaws to try and hide from her. Well, he will insist on speaking to all the kids he meets.

So not a lot to do this evening but sit and read (I’ve finished four books this week already) and sleep (I’ve slept enough for three nights on the two bus journeys). Tomorrow we’ll look around the area and go to a picnic we were invited to by a guy on the bus, and the day after we go for a trip to St Martin’s Island.

Oh, and my stomach is pretty much on the mend but I now have a headcold. Great.

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