Plane sailing

It’s been a a bit of a trek getting out to Bangladesh where I am working with Benjamin for a few weeks and if I thought the trekking was over I was wrong. The transport here in Khulna is slow progress and the roads would keep the highways agency back in the UK busy for a lifetime. That said the drivers do their best to overtake everything in their path, and with one hand on the horn they get around as fast as possible using the whole road and a little bit more. If your still not put off by the driving out here in Khulna I suggest trying a trip in the dark. Lights here are definitely an optional extra here and after seeing the first coach load of people appearing from behind a single light resulting in our car lunging toward the water surrounding the road I started to worry a little bit.

This wasn’t the first time my heart had been left beating hard since leaving home. As we crossed the tarmac at Dhaka airport to head west towards the fishing areas I saw our transport for the afternoon. No not the learjet with the armed guard parked up at the end of the runway but the ageing twin prop next to it. I didn’t really take a second look until we had all boarded the place when I noticed out of the corner of my eye a mechanic staring blankly up at the engine. He was joined by the captain, another mechanic and another all of whom looked more bemused than the last. The last straw came for me when the air hostess started to offer up suggestions to the cockpit…surely they aren’t trained for this..’Chicken or Fish….oh and maybe you should try the big red button..’

Not what you really want to be looking at whilst sitting on the runway..

Thankfully they shipped us back to the terminal where we kicked back in the vip/cip lounge (suggestions on a postcard..?) whilst they looked into the problem although with all honesty, my confidence was low. Half an hour later we were boarding the same plane with the faulty engine already running as we arrived. I can only assume that they hadn’t really fixed the problem, rather just got it running and didn’t really want to stop it. To make up for it we must have had a very talented pilot as it was a smooth ride all the way although I would say that next time I’d prefer not have the faulty engine staring me in the face for the flights duration.

More to come from Khulna soon. I’m heading off to Ali Baba’s restaurant tonight so maybe a restaurant review is in the pipeline.

I was pretty happy to be coming in to land in Jessor by this time
  • Sounds familiar. The roads in South Asia generally are not for the faint-hearted. The sad fact is that they are some of the most dangerous in the world. In Bangladesh DfID estimate there are 8,000 road accidents per year, with some of the highest crash rates. The same is true for Nepal and India. The tragic death of film maker Tareque Masud last August grabbed headlines but most accidents kill pedestrians and cyclists (i.e. those not in vehicles). I’ve never taken a flight in Bangladesh but have done many times in Nepal and your story made me laugh (nervously). In the last 18 months there have been three fatal crashes. These gain news coverage as they often involve foreign tourists. But far more people are dying when buses go off mountain roads. During the ten year conflict in Nepal nearly as many people died in road accidents as died in conflict related deaths. I hope you and Benjamin stay safe for the rest of your trip.

  • Thanks for your comments Rob. I’m not sure whether it’s boosted my faith in getting back to Dhaka but I guess I’ll have to cross my fingers on the flight back. I can imagine the statistics for accidents in the area and only last night travelling just into the centre we swerved to narrowly avoid a boy in the road and no one even blinked. Not nice.

    • Yeah, I noticed that Mike. We were very very close to knocking him over.

      On trips the thing that almost always worries me the most are the roads.

      Amazing that stat Rob.

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