Friday, February 17, 2006

A Bike Trip

Yesterday I went on a 5-hour, 35-km bike trip through the villages behind Khilkhet with some new friends. Making our way through the villages, we encountered charming children, enchanting scenery and friendly villagers.

We biked through the wide avenues of Bashundhara Housing and crossed a four-bamboo-wide bridge ("shako") to find ourselves in Khilkhet. Following a road, we crossed a river by boat, then followed the "path" and eventually looped back to the ferry. Although the terrain was mostly flat, scenery varied from wide open green fields to picturesque meandering rivers to tree-canopied paths connecting one village to another.

I was reminded once again why Bangladeshi villagers are quite possibly the friendliest people in the world. Several times kids offered to pluck ripe Kamrangas from the trees for us. At one household we had to dissuade women who wanted to go make Shemai for us. One girl, Khadeja, asked me if I had a daughter. When I said yes, she asked me to bring her to visit. Why, I asked. So I can see her and show her the village, said Khadeja. Don't forget my name, Khadeja of Bashabashi village, and I will be waiting to see your daughter.

In these villages cricket was the game of choice, followed by soccer. Few kids knew about the games of my childhood such as Kabadi or Dariabandha.

And of course everyone wanted to have their picture taken. Instant feedback of digital camera doubled the children's delight.

At the end of the journey we stopped at a tea stall in Khilkhet. We had tea/soft drinks and Christian bought some Samosas. Initially I worried about the bacteria, but then I relented and tried one. It was delicious and no, it did not make me sick.

All this within one hour of biking from Gulshan/Baridhara.

Many thanks to Nancy, Christian and Stefan for inviting me along on this trip.

Boats on the river Balu:

Field of green:

Bounty of tomatoes in a village:

A statue of Hindu goddess Kali at a village mandap:

More green:

Khadeja of village Bashabashi:

Khadeja and a friend:

Do all cows have funny ears?

Path connnecting villages:

Another river scene:

Three brothers:

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