The following web address will inform and amaze you about the clothing industry in Bangladesh. Check it out!Visit Bangladesh Clothing
Late start getting breakfast (complimentary), but at $24 US each we SHOULD have at least as good a breakfast as in Kuwait or Dubai but it was not! Tea, toast, corn flakes, potatoes, and some kind of veg. We ended up going with the bicycle rickshaw fellow again to check out the rocket boat - a no go on Friday when we wanted to go, and on Saturday only 2nd class cabin available (rear by paddle wheels, hot, only a fan!). Don't need another Amazon experience without the scenery! Went to 4 bus companies before we found one which had a bus going today at 2:30pm but AC and twice what we paid to get to Dhaka though this would be a 6 hour ride. Went to another (5th) company non-AC and it was less than half the AC bus price but leaving in 45 min. (12:30). Back to hotel, grab our stuff and take a tuk tuk back ( bicycle rickshaw not able to carry us & bags - too heavy/bulky). At appointed time a rickety 'shuttle' bus picked us up and dropped us at another station where we waited another 45 min. for our 'coach' ( being generous here) pulled up, loaded and departed. Lots of leg room is all I can say for it. Since we were starting late I think the driver felt obliged to make up time, so rather than just SPEEEED along like the other buses we'd traveled in, this guy tried to pass everything and anything ahead of him.
The key to bus travel here I think is to not watch what's up ahead, just look out the side windows. Buses need, must have two essential parts just as in India, a loud air horn and good brakes. Here, however, a driver must also have balls! Timidity will get you nowhere, and very slowly at that! You are not on Mr. Toad's Ride so much as participating in a continuous game of chicken! I honestly felt that our driver had the most balls on the road today and was only intimidated once by a huge tanker truck passing another bus in our lane, very interesting since the tanker trucks are usually just lumbering along and blocking /holding up traffic!
The bus ended it's journey 4 km from town center and our chosen Hotel Golden Inn. After finally getting a tuk tuk driver who asked at the bus counter where it was (the same fellow told us it would cost 80 taka to get there - we had no clue where we were at this point), we trundled what turned out to be 4 km to the hotel! Not 80 taka, not 200 taka, the guy had the xzypft! to ask us for 500 taka! More than a ticket on the bus we'd just arrived in from Dhaka 6 hours away! Unfortunately, the hotel doorman/helper said to give him 400 taka so what were we supposed to do? ! Taxi drivers! Can't stand 'em but sometimes ya can't live w/o them and THEY know it!!Hotel Golden Inn
is at least fairly reasonable price wise compared to what we paid LAST night! Okay, enough of this blabber about money....
The ride here (besides being somewhat heart stopping at times) went thru a lot of rural ag like we'd seen before but now not so much jute production and more straight rice with bananas, sugar cane, and believe it or not, cucumbers, the vines are seemingly everywhere they can put up some stakes, or suspend them some way. A major difference though, in this part of Bangladesh is the huge increase in roadside trash dumping sites. Litter is almost as bad as in India. The roads are still just as good ( no potholes), and as I mentioned the drivers are just as bad but for several km. entering Chittagong along side the road are business after business recycling most everything imaginable. Metal, plastic, wire, wood stuff, huge electrical transformers etc., even saw a big bin of flip flops! A most amazing lineup!
Went to our hotel restaurant but they had no bread! Down the street Hotel Favour Inn did! Went to the train station asking about tickets to Dhaka tomorrow- none available...Eids holiday. Went to bus company, Shyamoli, and got tickets, AGAIN, to return via same bus company/highway we came with/on! They say if you do the same thing over and over but expect a different result it is a sign of insanity! Also, reserved seats on Green Line bus (AC) for Saturday - again concerned about Eid holiday and transport.
Took a tuk tuk (here they call them CNGs since all run on natural gas) to the port area but it's all walled off! Next went to the wealthier part of town, where the 1% shop/recreate (we're staying in a kind of seedy area) called GEC Circle and a 'McD-type' burger place for comfort food and Baskin Robbins ice cream called Well Food Center, now that's a good name!
Bangladesh city streets are a perfect reflection of the country as a whole, 99% poverty - beggars of all sorts, street sleepers, CNGs, bicycle rickshaws, and crammed, beat up buses the major transport, with very few private cars - NO auto taxis! Stalls selling just about everything set up on both sides of sidewalks - on ground & rickety wood tables or off 4 bicycle wheeled platforms. The countryside/rural areas are in much better shape it seems to me, though most with limited electricity.
Back at our hotel we escape heat/humidity in our room with it's ceiling fan watching TV - movies and news...no internet where we are. Could have possibly attempted going to remote tribal villages near Bandarban which was one of the main reasons Bon wanted to come to Chittagong but transport arrangements have been so difficult AND expensive we bagged the idea. Actually, much of our difficulty with getting info and travel here is due to communication problems. The only people we have encountered who have a good grasp of English are the Hindus, usually from Bengal descent. Muslims are very friendly and smile readily, in fact, if we stand more than a minute two in one place there will inevitably be a crowd around us either just staring or one or two trying to ask in very halting English if they can help.