Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Multi-mode Transport Day

Today I traveled down from Barisal to Olachipa and began the radio assessments in this area by visiting a couple of cyclone shelters on one of the myriad of islands that make up the coastal area of Bangladesh.

The day started off in the trusty Toyota Land Cruiser and the main part of the drive was broken up with three major river crossings on small vehicle ferries. When we arrived in the Olachipa area we chartered an old wooden coastal cruiser (do not develop any visions of grandeur here – it was basically a flat topped boat with a one-lunger and a large tiller) to make a 60 minute crossing of a major river delta. At the dock we rented a "tom tom" which is basically a moped with a flat wooden bed on the back that the four of us sat on, legs dangling, and made a 15 mile circuit of the island to visit two shelters that are equipped with VHF radios. Both radios would turn on but they've been unable to reach anyone. I suspect a cable problem. It should be easy to fix in the Spring.

We got back to the dock right at dusk and the boat took us back to where we started but in a very circuitous route since it was now low tide. One of the dangers of having a GPS is the "limited knowledge" problem. I could see the route we had taken to get to the island but couldn't understand why we were heading up the river way beyond our outbound track. When I later spied some mud banks all was revealed.

When we got back to the shore the boat owner insisted we take tea in a local cafe which generated a large crowd as this lone westerner shared tea. We then returned to the Land Cruiser to head into Olachipa for dinner and our hotel.

(I promise to add photos later. Just don't have the time right now.)

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