Came to me – Dhaka

A tip for young players. Just because the Jet Airways counter has “all flights” on the television monitors, this does not mean all flights. We lose twenty minutes before we head to the opposite end of the terminal for international check-in, and this is the longest, slowest moving line one can imagine. At check-in the woman asks if I am applying for a visa on arrival; I am not, and find my visa in my passport for her.

Then on to the immigration queue. This is the slowest moving line of all time. Someone has made it as far as the immigration counter without a passport. He has some kind of official letter with his photo attached. His case takes forever to resolve, but there is no management of the queue in response.

Our plane has already commenced boarding whilst we are in line at immigration. Boarding is very nearly over by the time we make the counter. And there is still security to deal with. We discover that gate 9 is a very long way away indeed, and we grab one of those airport golf carts to speed the journey. I have been factoring in that our bags will already be on board, and that the plane won’t leave with them and not us. We are the second and third last people on board, another victim of the Jet Airways queue who we recognize follows us down the aisle a minute or two later.

An easy flight, and a half hour time zone later, we land in Dhaka. The single line of immigration for foreigners is long and slow, and an hour after touchdown we find ourselves past customs. Lea has come to meet us at the airport with a car and a driver for the trip to her home. Lea asks us to identify any differences between India and BD. I say we haven’t been on a road as good as this in India, nor has any vehicle we’ve been in managed to move at such a speed. The cycle rickshaws have decorated canopies here, in India they all seemed a uniform and plain green.

We arrive at what will be home-base for the next week, and thanks to Australia Television International, an English-language news service, with an Australian accent. The news concentrates on the region.

Tomorrow we head, with Lea and Neville, for the Sundarbans, an area of mangrove forest at the great river delta which spills into the Bay of Bengal.


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