After an excellent nights sleep with great internet at Hotel Nice International in Rajshahi, I was up early and onto an Auto to the bus station to get a bus through initially to Puthia, and then after sightseeing there, to flag down another bus to get me to Bogra.
Problem was the auto driver took me to the wrong bus area, so I dumped him and got another auto to the correct bus area where I eventually found the right bus to the temples at Puthia. Cost NZ$1.20 to travel the 25ks. The buses are so cheap, just like me!!
There I paid an old man to take me on his rickshaw from where the bus stopped to the area where the temples are. It was 3 ks and I negotiated to pay him 10 Taka (NZ 18 cents) for the trip, he was really happy when I gave him another 18 cents as a tip. He left even happier when I plonked a NZ cap on his head as a gift!
There is a man made Lake at Puthia which a series of temples were built around, I met the man who had keys to the various locked gates and proceeded in an anti clockwise direction walking around the Lake going into the temples on the way, there were 4 or 5 main ones – none of them big, but quite impressive all the same. Some of them had amazing tiles – see here, and here and here
Mr Keys (age maybe 30) was from the Govt archaeology Dept and he was very excited when he saw my camera. I have found that for a photographer people open doors and do things they wouldn’t otherwise do. End result was he not only unlocked the doors for me, but he also hustled up some beautifully dressed teenage girls and a brother to pose for photos in the temple. One girl was 18 and married – the others were 19 and 11.
Mr Keys was instructing them where to stand and look while I clicked away – quite funny really, I think he thought he would appear in National Geographic or some front page of a newspaper – I didn’t dispel any thoughts he might have had and just happily clicked away.
By now the temperature had reached 43 degrees and Mr Keys despite being a younger local was struggling.
He was surprised that I had my backpack on my back and a big camera bag on my front, yet was still ok with the heat. He said everyone was hiding in the shade looking at me like I was crazy walking around with back (and front) packs on in the intense heat. I drank 8 litres of water in the morning and hadn’t peed once – it was pouring out my pores though. In the end the water nearly killed me – as I was leaving to find my way back to the bus I thought I had better go and empty my bladder because I had an 85k bus ride coming up and there are no toilets on the buses. I asked where a toilet was and was directed to some bushes. In I went and was standing there in full flow when there was an almighty crash – a bunch of 3 coconuts fell and missed my head by inches – if I had been a couple of inches forward I would have copped it bull’s-eye on my head. Head on my head that is!!.
Anyway I departed back down the road to the bus area and waited for the correct bus to arrive. Once I got there I had to wait in a small waiting area like a shack until the right bus came – I had a great time there and got some photos of me at the bus mans desk with him trying to buy a bus ticket from me, I gave him a small bank note for him to hand to me so it would look realistic, but he promptly rejected my 5 Taka note and pulled out a much bigger 100 Taka note so it would look more impressive, so I got the photo – me at his desk writing out a ticket in my left hand while he hands me the 100 Taka in the other hand. The crowd that gathered thought it was a great laugh – it came to an end when the bus came and I was escorted to the head of the queue to board first – after about 15 hand shakes from all my new found friends I was on board.
Forgot to mention – on the way I saw the 5th person in Bangladesh wearing a NZ cap. I bought over 20 to give away – clearly I am not the only one that does that. They cost $3 from the old $2 shops at home. I saw 3 people with them on in Dhaka, one on the train and the man today at a food stall as we drove past – amazing to have seen 5 in 5 days in a country of 170? million.
Which brings me to an interesting thing I was told by a very intelligent man, so I believe him. He said the simplest way to explain how densely populated Bangladesh is – if you put every man, woman and child that is alive today and put them into the USA that is the same density. (I haven’t checked it out but it sounded good!)
Anyway after much bouncing, bumping and tooting I arrived in Bogra where I am now.
Internet is crap, power has gone off 5 times and photos won’t upload.
Tomorrow I head to Joypurhat to stay with a man that does humanitarian work with the poorest of the poor. I plan on staying 2-3 days to explore. Not sure if there will be internet. I have no idea if I am supposed to pay him or not. It is a mystery – but time will tell (and so will I when I can)