Saturday, November 03, 2007

On The Way To Rongpur

I can't believe I am blogging while I am ON A BUS. In an hour I should be at our ancestral village in Rongpur, and the little modem that I talked about here is allowing me to check my email and surf and upload pictures while in between villages that don't even seem to have electricity.

Our trip started early in the morning, when we drove to the bus terminal just outside Dhaka.

Our bus was the 'executive coach' style - air-conditioned, lots of leg space, overhead bag cabins, separate luggage storage and comfortable reclining seats. And surprisingly, it's only 330 taka (at this time 1 CND is roughly 72 taka).

We passed many a local market (like the one showed above). Even while passing through sparsely populated villages I got why Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world - there seems to be a crowd EVERY where.

Perhaps this is why the government is sponsoring signs and banners like this one.

Roughly translated, it means "No more than two children, one is actually better." Rezwan talks on this issue here.

The following is a (bad) view on Jamuna Bridge.

Jamuna Bridge is the eleventh longest bridge in the world and the second longest in South Asia [wikipedia]. I remember before this bridge was built, we would have to disembark at this point and wait for a ferry to take us, cars and all, across the mightiest of the three rivers in Bangladesh. The ferry trip alone would take 3 hours. Now the whole Dhaka-Rongpur trip took 6 hours.

This is a food / rest stop the bus made half way into the journey.

I was a bit apprehensive about eating outside, but my uncle assured me it was safe. And not only was I impressed at the cleanliness of the kitchen and eating area (which was air conditioned, again), but more importantly the washrooms were CLEAN! Spotless!

Of course it was a bit weird to have a washroom which was both for males AND females. I mean it's strange to try and blow your nose in one sink while a woman was fixing her makeup next to you.

Bus names on the road are interesting. There's this line called Digantor, which means 'far and wide'. Except maybe the bus is perhaps travelling only 40 km. Bengalis have a tendancy to exaggerate. There's also the Digantor Express, which means it's moving 0.5 km per hour faster.

If you were slightly religious, you can fly Borak. Of course with the way these drivers drove, ANY one would start praying. See the picture below.

Now imagine that bus in front is coming TOWARDS you. At 80 km per hour. And you are going at the same speed as your driver is trying to overtake a rickshaw. Somehow, at the last minute, someone swerves, and you heave a sigh of relief. Until the next minute.

It's winter in Bangladesh. Unlike some other countries, Bangladesh has a crop for every season, and the scenery outside at times was truly beautiful.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to wake up early morning and capture some of the village scenes.


Anonymous said...

I am going to give HELL to my family back home now that I KNOW they have no excuse for not using the internet.
"But line to khub kharap re. Khali down thakey"
"Internet jaaaa slow ar khali morey jaye"


- Athena

'liya said...

I'm happy you're keeping us up to date with all these cool pictures :)

mezba said...

Athena: you do that. Though then they might ask you to fund the equipment and monthly rental charges!

Liya: you should see my facebook! :-P

Suroor said...

Lovely trip!

Yawar said...

Ah, I miss those inter-city bus stop restaurants! There was one between Dhaka-Chittagong, I think it was called Noor Jehan, they had amazing beef jhalfraizi and parata ... miss that food a LOT.

And oh yeah, no one who's lived in BD can forget the buses of death ... we had a close shave with a Borak once, I was (half-) joking with my mom that it almost literally sent us to heaven, hehe.

mezba said...

Suroor: hectic, but fun!

Yawar: lol.

GeekiSiddiqui said...

Having wireless everywhere at anytime, with good speed...oh that would be so nice.

mousehunter said...

B'desh, the biggest hotspot...haha. Cool pics.