Photos and notes

Six weeks in Bangladesh 1990 - digitized 35mm slides

In November 1990 I travelled six weeks in Bangladesh. I had spent a little over a month in Nongkhai (Northeast Thailand) trying to get to grips with a novel I hoped to one day finish, and although I had enjoyed the twice daily downpours, especially the heavy nightly thunderstorms building up over Laos across the Mekhong that would, accompanied by intense lightning and rolling thunder, unload tremendous amounts of water, bringing the riverbed ever closer to the veranda of my wooden hut – I had become somewhat bored with the routine.

My first impression when flying into Bangladeshi airspace was: “So much water – where is the land?” The second after landing: “Wow, the airplane is actually taller than the airport building!” And the third after being ‘hijacked’ by a six-fingered (on each hand) riksha driver who claimed to know just the perfect little cheap hotel for me (which turned out to be true – I was pretty down and out at the time) and after we had come to a halt next to a very busy and very grubby looking restaurant (which he claimed to be very good, indeed – which turned out to be not quite so true despite my financial state): “I hope I don’t get sick; I hope I don’t get robbed; I hope I find something that I actually want to eat; and – with a grain of self-pity (I was also dirty, sweaty, tired and hungry after the journey) – I hope I will survive all this!”

My friend Stephan, with whom I had originally planned to meet up with on a Thai beach, was due to join me in Dhaka two weeks later. So after spending a few days in the capital I decided to go to Sylhet for a week. I am not sure anymore whether I took a train and then a bus or travelled the whole distance by road; but in any case I wasn’t travelling light. By no means not. I was accompanied by my recently acquired camera equipment ( a Nikon F3 HP with separate waist level viewfinder for color slides, and for black and white a Nikon FM2, several lenses and filters, 40 or 50 rolls of 35mm film, and a tripod) and a mechanical (what else!) travel typewriter.

Our route took us from Dhaka to Sylhet, then to Chittagong, Cox Bazaar and back to Dhaka where we bought tickets for a first class cabin on a steam boat to Khulna from where we crossed over into India.


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