On the plane is was asking myself what the hell I was doing and on arrival I could not believe how slack the border control had been. I got basically waved into the country on the most negligent way.
It was past midnight and the sleepy airport gave me the creeps. Everything was dirty yellow and too many eyes were staring at the big purple bag carrying around a blond girl.
I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, so the first taxi I got into was maybe not the best.
There were two people in the car, so I took a photo of the license plate and pretended to send it to my invisible friend via my imaginary mobile data. After many detours and asking around, I finally saw a friendly face. My host was the most awesome person ever and my uneasy feelings soon melted away into a good nights sleep.
Since I did not plan the slightest bit of this trip (surprise, surprise), I’d impulsively jumped onto a train to Paharpur.
I saw a photo, liked it, and took off.
Little did I know that it would be an awful lot of hassle to get to these mysterious Buddhist Vihara ruins. The train bumped for 8 hours through the black meaningless landscapes. It was a horrible night, without any sleep and full of regrets already.
Bangladesh has the highest population of helpful people ever. Like, in the history of all great times people have been helpful to one another, they are definitely number one. They are so curious and careful that it will probably soon annoy you untold.
If a random man wouldn’t have helped me to point out a place that supposed to be a hotel, I would have ended up asking for a room in shoe shop. The guys at the entrance table (shall I call it the reception?) did not know how to act having a foreigner in their midst.
The phone calls, stress and question marks seemed endless for a simple handling.
Bargain! 2,5 Euro for a private room with inside bathroom.
It was by far the most crappy room I’ve ever stayed in, but one of the best sleeps of my life.
In the end, the site I really wanted to see was a wee too much of a hike for what it was. From Santaher I needed to hire a Rickshaw driver who overcharged me, the route was incredibly cold and the casual stopover to pick up other civilians and betel-chewing were not an exception. We arrived just before sunset. The sun was hidden behind the misty clouds and there were people having barbecues over loud pounding music right on the historical site.
45 minutes later, I was back in the Rickshaw heading home.
However, the driver took a right turn into a dark alley.
“BRING ME HOME!”
He turned around, smiled and said something in Bangla. He stopped and ordered me to wait alone and lost in the dark. Wait for what? Until you come back with a chainsaw to divide me over the community? I jumped out, got my teaser handy and hid behind the Rickshaw.
I did not run, because I had no idea where I was.
A couple of minutes later he came back with his wife and daughter eager to meet me. The moment was so cute, that I could only try to deactivate my weapon without electrifying myself.
I couldn’t wait to get home to get my hands defrosted.
Adventure closed. So I thought.. The clerk at the station found taking photos of me way more interesting than listening to my request. I left with the wrong ticket and got to bed.
That night someone banged on my door.
But he insisted for me to answer. By the time I’d gathered some descent clothes to reveal myself to the Muslim man disturbing my precious beauty sleep, I was very awake and angry. Once again, a lot of Bengali was thrown at my head, and something about a train leaving in 10 minutes. I didn’t care about the fucking train, I was sleeping way to well for this shit. So I slammed the door to his face and picked up my dream where I’d left off.
The morning after, everything made sense. I’d missed my train at 2AM, whilst I clearly wanted to book for 2PM.
Goddammit, Belgium all over again. Missing trains since 1999.
Of course I made a scene in the train station, got a refund and left with the right ticket.
3 hours to kill.
So I went to a restaurant where I got a free meal because I was their first foreigner.
No one seemed to believe that I was hopping around there. They gave me cookies, water, coffee, stories, questions,... and a lot of selfies. A lot of selfies. A LOT of selfies.
The day train was freaking awesome:
A guy brushing his teeth for hours.
So much I never understood.
They talk, motion, but forget about clarity.
It was one of those trains that had people on the roof.
Too many hours and several meetings with about everyone within my reach in the compartment later, we arrived back in Dhaka. Home!
Cultural differences are not always easy to understand, leaving me crying against a wall, holding my knife and staring at the locked door.
My host got me out of there and we ran off to a hotel where I cried the shock away.
Apart from this unfortunate event, Bangladesh is a beautiful country with even more beautiful people.
You’ll see people stacking fruits with an unseen passion.
You’ll feel famous taking selfies with strangers.the.whole.time.
One destination, five different ways of transport including a horse.