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Himalaya

Day 123: Dhaka to the Delta

Dhaka, Bangladesh 
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Michael Palin - HimalayaTonight, there's less ceremony. People eat at different times. A tasty, fleshy local fish called bekti is served, but not with white gloves.

A thin, bespectacled man introduces himself after supper. He spent several years at the Botany Department at Sheffield University and, in one of those serendipitous moments that give travel a good name, I find myself on both the Ganges and the Brahmaputra swapping stories with a Bangladeshi botanist about the church I used to go to when I was nine.

The waterways of Bangladesh seem to operate on the same philosophy as the roads of Dhaka, an improbable synergy that, by the most dangerous means possible, successfully accommodates every kind of river user. None of them seem to have lights or horns. And as we don't have radar, Captain Mohammed Rahman has to rely on instinctive judgement.

I'm in bed in my cabin reading Patrick O'Brian when we make our first stop at Chandpur. There is a lot of noise and light and the sound of shouts and the slap of sandals, and the loading and unloading is still going on when I put down my book about Napoleonic sea battles, feeling that, perhaps, past and present aren't so far apart.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 123: Dhaka to the Delta
  • Country/sea: Bangladesh
  • Place: Chandpur
  • Book page no: 279

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