I left Rangpur to the east, towards Lalmornihat. I avoided the highway and cycled on a minor road to the Teesta river. Instead of the river, which is wide and mighty on my maps, I just found flood plains full with fields – rice and potatos and other vegetables I can’t name. I cycled on the narrowest footpaths between fields and across desert-like stretches of sand (the sidearms of the Teesta which dried up last) until I could see the water. I stopped near an old guy, sitting on the ground and pinning leafes on wooden needle-like sticks. His wife(?) and two kids and another man appeared soon, too, and we chatted away in our languages without understanding much. I helped them pin the leafes and learned that it was stuff that was smoked. Was that tobacco??
I crossed the actual Teesta, which was narrow and shallow, on a boat that was rowed by a bunch of boys, maybe 7 years old or younger.
From there to Lalmornihat was an easy ride. I’m staying at the local RDRS guesthouse again.
After check-in I did some nerdy sightseeing: I went to India. And circumnavigated it.
There are a bunch (a lot, actually) of Indian exclaves in the area, as well as Bangladeshi exclaves in India.
But what does that mean? Is there an actual border? A fence? Is the grass really greener on the other side?
There is a tiny one of these exclaves less than 10km east from Lalmornihat, just a couple of hundred meters off a paved main road. I left this road and cycled along a dirt track until I hit another narrow but paved road. According to the GPS this was were the border was. I followed the asphalt and it seemed to follow the outline of the exclave almost exactly. I was a wee bit disappointed, though, as there was no border, no police, no fence, and everything looked just like everywhere else in the countryside.
At lunch I had met a guy who had told me that there were no Bangladeshi exclaves in India anymore, India had occupied them all, he said. Was he right? Had the same happened with the Indian exclaves this side of the border?
I asked a man standing at the track. He was happy to tell me that this was India! And he was Indian! I had just crossed the border to India! How exciting! :)
I cycled on and asked another guy – another Indian! From what I understood it is difficult for them to travel to India, though, despite being Indian. Going to Bangladesh is not a problem, obviously, even though it is technically illegal.
I’ll try to find a Bangladeshi exclave once I’m in India.