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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Waterfalls

Entering the last week in Bangladesh. Considering I flew out of Delhi, and will be flying back in, the Bangladesh stint - for having received the Pakistani visa several days late - feels rather surreal.

"Missed your visa? Take a break in Bangladesh!

Overall, so far, it's been more of the same.

Friday's a day off here and Ponkaj offered to take me for a trip to the hills nearby, part of why I stayed in Chittagong for an extra day or two. With hilltracts out of my reach, lack of other reasonable places to visit was another one.

Funny thing to watch how even locals get confused and stuck in negotiating prices. And stuck on a bus, with waves of salesmen and beggars coming through in desperate attempts to make money.

After one premature disembarkation and several CNGs later, we made it to the trailhead, leading up to a famous waterfall.


It looked like a circus, more than anything, with an array of more beggars and salesmen, this time convincing the Bengali visitors to leave their flip flops behind as they could get wet and offering them 100 years old 'socks' to wear for the trip, along with waterproof phone cases. That actually got me curious to see what's the fuss about.

Except...






Clearly, where there are shops, there must be a toll gate. Into the jungle. At first I couldn't believe, but I suppose it does make sense. Being asked for 5 dollars not so much. The mental mark-up of 25 locals aside (local price was 20 Taka), insisting on being paid in foreign currency, which on the streets in Bangladesh gets traded above market rate, felt simply outrageous.

And that was the end of that trip.

We tried to go see another waterfall - and missed our stop again, even though I'm not sure if that wasn't on purpose this time around. The bus tout was all too happy to have us pay for the rest of the ticket in any case

Initially I had the impression that Bangladesh is quickly learning from India and has a drive to open itself up to foreign tourists, but the opposite seems to be the reality. The country as such has zero facilities or infrastructure to meaningfully interact with foreigners and all that's left are few individuals saving the country's reputation of a hospitable nation - but they're doing a heck of a job of it.


I was gonna leave for the southern tip of Bangladesh tonight, but Ponkaj talked me into going to visit his friends with him first. I wanted to leave at 1 am - before my brain switches off. He wanted to leave at 3, possibly the worst time to leave for a 4 hour trip, as we wouldn't get any sleep before leaving or on the bus. The compromise is 5 am tomorrow... 🤦

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