the road less traveled in Bangladesh

One of the biggest challenges traveling outside of Dhaka,is finding a decent hotel or guesthouse that is not very higgy biggy(grungy). Our first stop after Kurigram in Rangpur,at the Parjatan ,the government tourist hotel,was barely sustainable.
The odor in the room was pure mold. I managed to get through the night in my sleeping sac. The one positive was the English speaking Bangladeshi-indian woman who had grown up in London, Boston and Calcutta and finally (i dont get it) married and settled in Dhaka in 1978. We visited, i ordered chicken curry that was not bad and we made a date to meet in Dhaka..The next day was my lucky one. We found a new deluxe hotel in Bogra with $20 rooms,tile floors, hot water, cable television and internet.. I didnt want to leave. We spent 2 days out in the field outside of the town visiting handicapped families. The landscape was exquisite,,rice paddies,lush green fields, with tall trees. Unfortunately the places people live are not lovely. The houses in this part of the country were made of mud but well built, reminding me of architecture in Yemen.. The people were poor but not starving. Many of the handicapped because of BPKS, the NGO i am traveling with,have been able with group support to open small businesses and
have a life. The community has also been taught to be more accepting of them.

My next adventure in Bogra, was visiting the brand new hospital and medical center, to get my 3rd Rabies shot. yes rabies.. India is full of mad dogs.
Shocking again was the condition and chaos at the hospital. i couldnt tell who the real doctor was. When he finally identified himself,he told me to go buy the serum at the pharmacy somewhere in town and come back. We searched several stores and finally there it was..490 taka..$7.. Why does the Rabies shot cost $200 each at the university of washington travel center.? Fearful about dirty needles in 3rd world countries, i was happy to see needle and syrienge included in the $7. The last step was to go back to the hospital and get someone to give me the shot.
No gloves,in the middle of a bunch of people milling around,a real nurse,injected me in the arm.. if i survived the next 2 days, I figured i had made it out alive.

So the next day we had to travel south to Khulna division to visit their offices in
Narail. Our regular driver Manik,who didnt know what driving slower meant, but he did get us through alive, had to go back to Dhaka for family, so we had a standin..not as much fun with a funny name, doolou. We drove for about 5 hours and arrived in the Narail offices. Dark, dingy, hiby giby i couldnt possilby sleep there… oh my god… we drove back to Jessore and found the hotel Hasan International.. with a name like that i was sure this was going to be luxury.quote
from lonely far the best place to stay,its so new you can almost smell the paint. It already needed new paint.. and was located in the middle of the trashy,noisy bazaar. but it did have cable tv and it was the academy awards.Again my sleeping sac and dont touch the sheets… after the first night you kind of acclimate…still dont touch the sheets.. i was on a diet of bottled water,mango juice and crackers.. i couldnt bear the restaurants..east harlem back in the 70’s. We spent days in the field, driving the toyota van on dirt paths but i meet some wonderful handicapped people who were creating a life for themselves because of this organization.
i will blog again tomorrow as i am back from my journey through Bangladesh and have much more to say and tell…. until then enjoy everyday of your are blessed believe me.. lois

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