(Photos promised but will have to wait for bandwidth for uploads)
A long day's drive over rough roads took us from Dhaka to Barisal, one of the district capitals in the delta region and home of one of the zone offices for CPP. We left Dhaka shortly after 7:00am and arrived at the hotel at 5:00pm – a long day in the back of a Toyota Hilux. Mid-morning we stopped at a 'rest area' for a cup of tea and the equivalent of a muffin.
Late morning we boarded a ferry crossing one of the big rivers. The ferry in this photo is the same as the one we were on. The roadway for most of the trip is a levee sitting 6 to 12 feet above the surrounding land and water. Even so they told us that the road floods regularly in the monsoon season.. glad that’s over. Road conditions range from silky smooth (very little) to total pothole hell (much). Traffic is steady but you have to share the road with everything from rickshaws to passenger busses, and when those busses lean on their horn and pull out to overtake it’s everyone for themselves. Osman’s a good driver so not worried!
The land is very flat and water is everywhere. We saw mostly rice fields but there were a few patches of other crops; bamboo, sugar cane, etc. The trip through agricultural land is broken up by small towns and villages where the traffic gets real crazy for a while.
Lunch came at Fahridpur at a Chinese restaurant. Since it was Friday we had an extended lunch stop as our driver Osman needed to attend the Friday afternoon prayer meeting at the local mosque. Friday is the most holy day of the Muslim week and Friday afternoon prayer is not to be missed.
After checking in at the hotel in Barisal and meeting up with the rest of the team we went down to the CPP zone office and identified the equipment and supplies needed for shipping to Amtoli in the morning to begin our radio rehabilitation work. Then back to the hotel for a short rest and dinner. Two of the Bangladeshi team accompanied us to dinner and after we were settled they asked if we would mind if they ate later. Apparently the normal time for the evening meal is 9:00pm or later … not sure if I’ll be able to adjust to this. I’m an early eater … and so is Tom.