Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One extra unplanned night away from home

It’s 4:00am in the morning and I’m here in an airport hotel two flights away from home … wide awake … ! I’m safe and sound, and got 7 hours sleep. So why am I here and not home …

Bangladesh isn’t the easiest place to travel to from Appleton, WI.  A month ago when I made my travel plans I decided to travel through this city for reasons at the time were perfectly logical but which, in hindsight, were flawed. I have become aware that there is only one direct flight to Appleton from here and it’s in the evening … if it gets cancelled your options are very limited.  As my flight approached yesterday evening the departure time kept slipping – first 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, then another 30 minutes, then an hour, and finally 3 hours after I was supposed to depart they cancelled the flight – a “mechanical” problem - and here I am, a guest of Wyndham. At least the airline had the decency to put us up at a hotel.

I wonder why the phrase “all my eggs in one basket” didn’t pop into my mind when I told the travel agent this itinerary was fine … Duh! You would have thought I’d have learned this lesson a long time ago, but “No”, I had to save this one for later in life. Chicago's looking good as a hub for future travel. At worst it's only a three hour drive in a rental car.

All things considered I’m a very lucky guy. I’m warm, I have a roof over my head, I’m not hungry, I’ve had a good sleep in a soft comfortable bed, a hearty breakfast awaits, and I’ll be home by noon. In the grand scheme of things really not too bad … I just hope my checked bag makes it!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Sombre Message

The following just came over CNN while I was working at the desk in my room. I wasn't really paying attention but all of a sudden I was transfixed by the words. It certainly makes you realize how fortunate we are to be born in countries where the 'c)' thoughts don't even arise.

She is born. Do you …
a) Celebrate your new daughter
b) Paint her room pink
c) Curse that she was born a girl
She is six. Do you …
a) Open an account for her education
b) Buy her that pink dress
c) Get her up at dawn to fetch water from the well
She is twelve. Do you …
a) Consider that first sleep-over
b) Buy her a mobile phone
c) Sell her into marriage to pay for her brother’s education
Poverty gives some people few choices and unfortunately it’s the girls that suffer most! It doesn’t have to be that way.

Didn't want to be depressing but it's such a powerful message I thought I'd pass it on.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Here are a few photos of the various forms of transportation I've used in Bangladesh ... and I these are ones I actually used.

First a small river ferry that takes passengers across the many rivers that flow through the country.

This is a tom-tom.

The tom-tom with us on board.

A chartered trawler with our deck chairs!

The trawler from the back.

A small coastal passenger boat. 70 cents a trip.

A 100cc motorcycle

Our trusty Toyota Land Cruiser.

The 'SS Unreliable.'

Another chartered trawler.

And finally, Shank's Pony!