It has become routine by now to wake up slowly at 6am and be on the road by 8am at the latest. Today breakfast was even included in the steep room price.
I cycled to the east, and the plan was to add a little detour before reaching the city of Feni for the night. North of Feni there is a kind of Bangladeshi pocket that reaches into India for a few dozen kilometers (see the map below). There is also a border crossing there. My idea was to cycle up to the northern tip of that pocket, have a look at the border crossing, and go back down to Feni.
But much earlier I had to stop at a river that had no bridge. I saw a few people climb up the embankment, and a boat in the distance. But it didn’t move.
Two men were dropped of by a CNG and a bunch of kids from the near-by village gathered around me. It took some gesturing to find out that the river was mostly very shallow – too shallow for the boat – and we would have to wade through to the deeper section where the boat was waiting. Funny.
From the other side of the river I continued, still heading east, towards the Dhaka-Chittagong-Highway. Not far from the highway I stopped at a building that looked like a Hindu temple – and was invited to lunch at his family’s place by a guy who was just about to leave the temple when I arrived. Suman was most lovely. He brought a friend, Tapan, who translated between Bangla and English, and I had lunch with his older brother, who showed me how to eat with my hands properly.
I learned that the local Hindu population had not seen the recent ‘communal violence’ (that’s the term used by the Bangladeshi government and press) by Islamists as other parts of the country. That is, their houses have not been burned down.
I left their place somewhat in a hurry, but it was apparent by then that I wouldn’t be able to do the planned detour. So I hurried along the crowded highway northwards to Feni, which I reached with last light.