Bike-Ride To Australia Sunday 1st-January 2012 Dhaka. I spent this morning recovering from all the alcohol I drank last night. I wish! No, I spent the morning printing out and filling in visa forms ready for my trip to the Chinese embassy tomorrow. At the same time, the Barrs caught up with some laundry.
After lunch, the Barrs and I went down to the ferry port. Ferries are one of the main forms of transport here in Bangladesh and go to all parts. What a busy place, not only are the big ferries constantly coming and going. There’s also a myriad of smaller boats crisscrossing from one side of the river to the other. Some of them laden so high with goods, I was surprised that none of them turned turtle!
We decided to hire one of the empty boats to go out onto the water to get a different perspective. Blimey, I thought it looked busy from the shore. It was ten times as bad out on the water! And as for the water! It was as black as coal, and the smell was almost unbearable. It was so polluted! If you were to fall in and get a mouthful, I don’t think you’d survive! Thankfully the atmosphere of a busy port more than made up for any smell.
On Teri Firma
Back on land, we were allowed to walk on and off the ferries and look around. One of them was the “PS Ostrich,” which Michael Palin took while filming his Himalayan series. We got a guided tour on this one! It was an old paddle steamer that now had a diesel engine, but the paddles still drive it. The first-class cabins were at the front of the boat, which came off a room with a huge dining table in the middle. Undoubtedly, guests on this part of the boat are waited on hand and foot!
The second class cabins are at the back of the boat, where the cabins aren’t quite so luxurious, and the dining area has more basic wooden tables. Third class is downstairs, where there are no cabins. People mark a spot on the floor with a sheet, and that’s their area!
We went back to the hotel by rickshaw, Becky and me in one and Dave, Helen and Katy in another. They did all look a bit squashed in, but they said they were fine. The two rickshaw riders were having a bit of a race on the way back, which Becky and I won! But I suppose we had a bit of an advantage with only two of us, and our rider was a lot younger, a good day.
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