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Sirajganj to Madhupur, Bangladesh

Photo, Pictures of, Images, Picture
(November 2011)

Begging for permission to cross the Bagabandhu Toll Bridge. The guards, although happy to chat with us, were not convinced. We waited over an hour for 'the boss' to arrive and give us a ride. Eventually we gave up and found some Chinese businessmen who gave us a ride across the bridge in the back of their pickup truck.


The guards at the bridge were a little bored and happy to entertain us. They carried well-used Chinese-made rifles, used by the North Koreans against American troops in the Korean conflict. The way the guards let their rifles point any which way, including directly at us, did not inspire confidence.


Trains in Bangladesh are ridiculously overcrowded. There are hundreds of people sitting and standing on the roof of every car. I can't imagine how they manage to stay up there without sliding off.


Gathering muddy water plants. For what I do not know, but we saw them for sale in the marketplace.


We were jumping the line between the lanes in a 10km Bangladesh traffic jam when we had to pull behind this truck due to lack of room - not even a touring bicycle could fit. I did not realize I was under these cows until the drool dripped in front of me.


The ripened rice was being harvested at the time, as well as some adjoining watery plants.


This looks like awfully gloppy work.


A short cut we took one day after getting caught in a miles-long traffic stoppage. Several people pointed us off on this side road. It took a day and a half to find our way back to the main road.


Playing Cricket with the local kids - I only know how to throw like a baseball pitcher and swing a bat like a baseball player but I hit that ball further than they had ever seen. Yankee ingenuity! "Uncle Uncle - play again"


We got invited to camp at in a school yard when we found ourselves lost in the countryside one night with no guesthouse in reach. Our many, many hosts were very excited by our appearance.


It's not easy to get the girls to pose for pictures. Harder still to get a smile.


Our dusty campsite in the school yard.

YES, Camping in Bangladesh while bicycle touring. Sometimes the people who invite us in do not actually have enough room in their house - very crowded here. My tent is set up in a school yard and we had many little smiling children visitors in the morning. With all the lack of privacy I wonder how the population grew so large......


The ladies and girls in all their lovely colors finally came over for a look.


Although we were fenced in, we were received plenty of visitors. One young man, upon hearing of our arrival, rushed over to wake us up after 10pm to ask if he could visit us at 6am to discuss the customs and culture of the United States of America.


The young woman in red at the center invited us to her house for breakfast. I believe most of these people are family members, who live in corrugated aluminum houses around the farm.


We had a really interesting tour around the farm, learned about the crops, chicken and egg ranching and fish ponds. The father gave us green coconut milk and told us the War for Bangladeshi independence. Everyone was very excited to have us come in their houses.


Mushvik, Ginok and her brother were our main hosts in the village. They went completely out of their way to make sure we were happy and well-fed.


Sometimes the crowd gets a little overwhelming!


One second ago these boys were nearly hysterical with excitement but flash a camera at them and they clam right up!


Occasionally an older gentleman will wander in while we eat and it's obvious by peoples' reactions that he's an important fellow in the village. With just a wave of his hand, the crowd will back off and no one goes near our bikes.


The bikes are irresistible to the local guys, but I hate to think of what would happen to this kid if he actually tried to peddle a bike this tall. I'm not even sure how he managed to keep a straight face while straddling the top bar.


Zig zagging the chaos through Madhupur on the way to the National Park.


At Madhupur National Park, we tried to get a room at the Christian Mission. Despite what the Lonely Planet says, they do not rent rooms to travelers. The mission is run by Father Homerich, originally from Michigan. He's been here since the 50s and was a Freedom Fighter in the War for Independence. One of a kind character!


Repairing a flat tire (puncture) in Bangladesh drew a huge crown - this was just the start. Removing all my touring bike panniers and digging around for my pump was big news in this village.


Since we couldn't stay at the Park, we backtracked to the dirty little town of Madhupur and stayed in one of the cheap and filthy hotels.


Proud mother and son. She wouldn't smile for the photo but she smiled when she saw the picture.


Typical crowed of Bangladeshi men staring at us as we ride our loaded touring bicycles past. I think we are getting used to how people dress and act here but we are a big shock to them.


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