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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Official business

Conversational highlight of the month:

"Hey! I met this (name) white guy, do you know him? "...??? "You don't know him? "no "Oh you don't speak English?! "! Bye!

What an opportunity to leave the conversation. It usually takes 3 to 4 days, if I'm staying longer in one place, for the immediate neighbourhood to get used to me and the change is dramatic. People stop yelling and start nodding, the more brave of them strike conversations, even if they are as silly as today's highlight. By then I've shopped around a few times and they see that I'm a human, not an alien from a foreign planet. It's always amazing to watch the transformation.

breakfast prep

knife's for meet, veg and fruits alike

more hidden lakes

heading downtown

Morning is another flurry of calls, this time through my distant friend who invited me into the mountainous tribal areas. Last I hear is that he's calling up the police... and I can't but wonder. It's not the first time this has happened; the sudden urgency to have answer now. It's what ultimately forced me to leave Arunachal, after getting my permit provider there so annoyed about it. And yet here we are again, calling and calling - where we are used to go about our business until the officer in charge has their coffee, checks all their social networks, procrastinates for another day just to avoid looking too eager to work...

Is it a sign of local hospitality or do they think we are unable to wait?

foreigner = 13 locals. used to be 6.5 last year.

the text has made me laugh

figures from Pakistan

food storing urns

beggar's bowl

Agrabad is Chittagong's commercial center, where a number of shipping companies has their HQs and that's where I headed out to. Where in the west nobody would care for me, here I get always invited in and at least heard out. One of the perks. I go from office to office... asking for a boat. It's a good fun and gets me to some interesting places. City's second highest skyscraper houses Taaha, and its boss invites me for a tea and a guava in his office. It's exactly I'd imagine a captain CEO's office - traditional models of ships and rudders, massive marble table with one old school phone and two cell phones, great views of the harbour... worth it, even if he, like most other companies, only ships east rather than west.

tribal gathering

very old school muzeum, but kinda nice

2nd highest building views

harbour on the Karnaphuli river

looking up to the highest building

Another time I am told that due to recession only locals can get jobs, until finally I start working my way through the highest skyscraper in town. The top floor is unfinished and unguarded - amazing views, but the air is so dusty I can't even see the Bay few miles in distance. I might have to come back on a clear day.

highest building, top floor, views

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the two tallest buildings in Chittagong

I start my little interviews by checking the person's English level - getting on a ship is too abstract and weird idea that I need a certain level of understanding to be able to present it. And this one well dressed guy is like "I can try" - which is always a good sign, and goes on to explain to me that in Bangladesh supernumeraries are not allowed to board; in other words, a crew cannot be recruited here, it's all done in Singapore or Malaysia.

heck I don't even know that word

the guy earlier was right

...I *don't* know English!

The poetry of getting schooled in English vocabulary makes me laugh.

The news it carries, not so much.


port entrance

riding home

my fav spot <3

Back to the drawing board?

Give it one more shot tomorrow?

I have a little bit of time before the hills permit gets resolved in any case.

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