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  • Writer's pictureVoita

cross-country

yesterday

Early morning - I sleep through most of the bus ride to Cox's Bazar. Storm follows on our heels. When I check in, the storm moves in. Against my best judgement, I head out to the beach marketed as the longest in the world. Over 12 miles. May or not be true. It's packed with tourists and Hindus, celebrating one of their major festivals. Perfect timing for the storm to strike. Got me drenched to the bone, nobody else seemed to notice. So the storm kicked it up a gear and knocked out power in half of the country, kid you not. That kinda sorta in the name of self-preservation forced me to early bed, before heat could creep into my non-fanned room. Hence no post yesterday.

escapin' the storm


today

Another early morning, don't they ever run out of them? That's my third in four days.

But I manage to catch another bus for yet one more extensive nap. I sit next to the driver again, I'd bet there were a lot of surprised passerbys, when they saw a foreigner drooling on the bus's front window.

preppin' for the storm



Reached Chittagong shortly after midday and met up with my contact from from the hills, Khushiray.

"You will see UN white jeep car with Antenna."

What an entree. He's apparently UN's tribal contact for their projects and has been travelling up to the capital today to secure a new round of funding for the next 5 years. While a contractor, he still had to agree to work exclusively for the UN, just in case, you know, he didn't agree with them. Speculation, clearly.

By and by I've had my suspicions confirmed - about the internal conflict in the hill areas. Officially finished over 20 years ago, in reality still alive, further fuelled by the cross-border strife. And the one-woman-run government turning the country into a profitable business for themselves. With the previous elections widely considered faked, and the next ones in January expected to fare likewise.

UN is trying to force madam Hasina to open, but that'd equal to a suicide, considering her and her family's history, so... maybe next time, thank you very kindly. And I'll take the money.

ridin' out the storm




How to get a UN job? Live in an impoverished area or spend dozen years driving limos in Saudi Arabia. I loved our driver - he knew traffic rules existed even though you'd never dream of that here and he didn't honk. Too much. Class. Said UN is a much better employer than arabs, too. Salvation?


cleansed


First leg of the journey north, done.

St. Martin - Teknaf, ferry, 20 miles, 4 hours (an hour waiting to disembark)

Teknaf - Cox, bus, 45 miles, 4 hours

Cox - Chittagong, bus, 85 miles, 4 hours

Chittagong - Dhaka, car, 150 miles, 5 hours (2 out of which snailing in Dhaka)

total... 3 days

today's ride

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back in the megapolis

Spending the final two nights in Bangladesh with Farid whom I talked about earlier and his family. Their daughter made it her business to teach my Bangla - on my last night in the country. Now only if I knew how to flip time to make use of it...

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