A ten hour journey in a clapped out old bus with no air-conditioning doesn’t sound like too much fun. The driving is madly erratic, often fatal and something you never get used to. But as hot and dusty as it can get, whenever possible, I open my window wide. I crave the amazing sight of beautiful Bangladesh laid out before me. This is a totally non-commodified experience in evey sense, and all the more special because of it.
I always keep my camera at the ready, in an attempt to record what I can. Not an easy task during such a bumpy journey, but irresistible never the less. The road surface in places is, to say the least, not so good. In fact on one particular stretch, not far from the approach to Chittagong city, we actually leave the road all together to drive down the tracks of an abandoned railway line. Here are some of the sights which typically represent what can be seen.
There are thousands and thousands of lorries on the road, hauling just about every kind of goods you can imagine, but on most journeys I see at least one which has unfortunately left the road under what can only be described as ‘dramatic circumstances’.
Driving over bridges opens up a birds eye view of the many rivers running through Bangladesh. I love the variety of boats to be seen along the way, representing a very different and interesting lifestyle.
Saw Mills are not an uncommon sight when traveling on the Chittagong to Dhaka highway. Deforestation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts is a real worry, but there is clearly a heavy demand for wood, with many skilled carpenters in most of the villages we pass through, busy making furniture of some sort or another.
With such a huge population, (Bangadesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world) there’s no shortage of interesting people just about everywhere you look, and with such congested roads some even find time to pose for my camera!
Despite the number of times I make this road trip, up to and back from Dhaka city, it never ceases to amaze me how Bangladesh always has something new, vibrant, bazaar and exciting to offer. I dare not fall asleep for fear of what I might miss. Even witnessing road rage Bengali style was fascinating!
The paddy fields look different each and every time I travel, but on my most recent road trip, in early March, they were at their very best, cool, lush and the most stunning shade of green.