DAY 3 -THURSDAY
There were blackouts throughout the night and that turns off the air-con and wakes me. Woke to pouring rain and a thunderstorm. So I cancelled my walk on the beach. No transport at all was available, so I decided to leave early so I had time to find some. It was way too wet to walk, and quite far. The hotel actually helped and in a few minutes I had a rickshaw. I had to pay Tk50, but I was determined to not miss the bus – and the rain could have worsened and made it impossible to stay dry.
He put the hood up and a plastic sheet in front of the cabin to sort of keep me dry. I had my hands full and couldn’t even take a photo. I got a bit wet, but not bad enough as to have to change clothes.
I had a nice breakfast of paratha & omelette and tea at the Honeymoon Hotel next to the bus office. Rain eased to a drizzle, so I would have been OK to leave later, but my way eased stress of finding something last-minute in the pouring rain to the bus office.
The bus arrived half an hour late and left seven minutes later. We went through some countryside
but also through many villages which were very slow going, and sometimes we were stopped by traffic jams.
After a couple of hours we stopped for a break. I bought cakes – very nice. Tk60. And I took photos with and of locals travelling back to Chittagong after a holiday in Cox’s Bazar.
We continued, and it became more and more urban. So many villages, and so many jams. I saw a lot mobile masts in the country, which explains the good reception. A lot of women about, too. We crossed a lot of rivers and streams. Also saw goats, cows, some chickens.
People were working in the fields.
There was also much mud and garbage in the towns. People living in mud and garbage.
And many brick factories – apparently brick production supplies 1% of the GDP.
Animals – many are free and wander around or sleep when and where they please. They seem to be in good condition. Only some cows are corralled.
We arrived in Chittagong at a toll gate, which took us across the river smoothly, with no jam on this very nice bridge.
Well, I like bridges… Chittagong seemed to be a giant muddy rubbish dump. Then we were back in jams on and off until we reached the terminal about 45 minutes later. I passed the Zaman Hotel on the way, which is where I was going to dine that evening. At the terminal I asked how to get to station and rough price. Tk100 by CNG. But driver I flagged down took a long time to understand my destination. And I had to settle on TK130 after bargaining.
I followed him on Google Maps as we progressed and it seemed OK. He got me there. At the station the ticket window information was all in Bengali, so I chose the shortest “queue” – er scramble of people all pushing in. I got the ticket I wanted.
I checked Google Maps and one of the Lonely Planet recommended hotels was five minutes relatively easy walk, so went there and got a room. Meaning tomorrow I can easily get back to the station.
The hotel told me it cost Tk50 with a CNG to Zalim Hotel, which is where I was recommended to eat. I couldn’t get that price except from rickshaw. Traffic was chaos – and driver went a long way and didn’t really understand.
Dinner was good.
Then someone helped me negotiate a rickshaw back – no driver wanted to go except for double the amount. His route was much faster, and less traffic, but still chaos.
No mosquitoes at this hotel. And the WiFi was fast. Their restaurant was OK, but relatively expensive.
Asian SR Hotel: TK1610 per night for a single. 291 Station Road, Chittagong. +880 31 285 0346 On the same road as the train station, and only a few minutes on foot.