Up country into rural Bangladesh

 

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An early start to miss the fanatic mania of Dhaka’s roads takes me past the parliament building & parks. Then it is out past the factories & cement works and into the flat hinterland of the Bangladeshi delta.

Bangladesh has four huge river systems flowing through it. Every year during the wet season these rivers flood and bring down from the north, India & Nepal & the Himalayas, huge quanties of rich silt and deposits it all over the flat expanses of the huge Bangladeshi floodplain. Enough rice is grown to feed the 120 million population & export some to neighbouring countries.

For 250 miles I drive north. Rice paddy fields stretch to the flat horizon on either side of the road in an emerald green patchwork of irregular shaped fields. Wheat, garlic, maize show up as rectangular interruptions to the billard table of rice. Minute blobs of colour show where farmers tend their parch. Even though it is the dry season water lies everywhere – rivers & tributaries criss cross the country side, lakes & ponds & puddles lie still as the water stagnates & waits to be refreshed by the rains. Busy, noisy roads connect equally busy villages & towns filled with people & workshops & vehicles & animals.

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Puthia is a small town with a palace & a temple located around dark green & rather murky ornamental lakes.

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Having followed the progress of Bangladesh in their World Cup game against India at every stop on route. Usually this is a small wooden shack with a handful of locals watching an ancient kitchen sized TV through an analogue snowstorm, staying for enough time to drink a cup of chain at each stop. Lots of encouraging noises & serious debate in sign language. Sadly, it is in a shack next dor to the hindu temple in Puthia that we learn that their task is too great & they have lost. Oh well, we’ll be in India for their games in the semis.

 

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