Beach life Bangladeshi style
Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
80Trip End Apr 08, 2006
The following morning I made for Cox's Bazar's main attraction, the beach. It was a short walk from my hotel and I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. The beach was huge! Well, after all it was supposedly the longest beach in the world. And long it was, not to mention a good 80 metres wide, and almost devoid of people. Everyone I'd met had talked the place down but I was impressed. After walking south for a while I found a lounge with an umbrella and this is where I spent the morning, reading and taking my first dip in the wonderfully warm Bay of Bengal.
I went back into the town for lunch and later went to have a look at the buddhist monastery of Addameda Kyaung. It was quite a surreal site, because for about 20 minutes I was back in Burma! Beautiful Burmese women with their faces smeared in Thanakha wandered around the teak monastery and gilded stupas. One of the local refugees showed me around the area for making a small donation. It seemed Burmese hospitality wasn't confined to Burma!
Once I stepped back into the maelstrom of Bangladesh I began the 25 minute walk back to my hotel. A young guy spotted me and started talking to me in Bangla, despite my protestations that I couldn't speak the language. This didn't seem to phase him as he continued to talk and ask me questions as I continued on my way! A friendly rickshaw driver helped me out near my hotel (not the first occassion a rickshaw driver came to my aid) and also showed me where to get a boat ticket for the ferry to St Martin's Island, my next destination.
Soon afterwards I raced down to the beach to watch the sunset, and as I was heading off I met a local named Abu who wanted to speak to me, in English luckily. We walked back into town and grabbed some cha before he showed me to his friends house. Both were keen cricketers, Abu an off spinner and his mate a left arm seamer. His friend's father, now deceased, was a very highly respected freedom fighter and former leader of Cox's Bazar's Awami League party. I felt very privileged to be in his house. After some snacks, more tea and some Hindi music DVDs, Abu offered to show me around Cox's Bazar when I returned from St Martin's Island, and his friend offered to have me around for lunch. I just couldn't believe the hospitality of these people!
I ate dinner at the same restaurant I ate at the previous evening and the owner joined me for another chat. He really was a funny guy, and obviously enjoyed the opportunity to talk with foreigners. I couldn't stay up for too long though, as I had a 6am bus to catch further south to Teknaf, where I would be getting a ferry to St Martin's Island.