By Naomi Dixon
I awoke after a restless night of stomach cramps and a few intimate moments hugging the toilet. Our accommodation was pretty nasty and there was a running joke that even the cockroaches didn’t even want to hang around this hotel. I cycled with much glee away from Brahmanbaria.
The road out of Brahmanbaria was awful and Phil Buckley was not happy on his carbon frame tri-road bike. The mountain bikers bounced along the road blissfully unaware. We broke away from the villages and started to enjoy the open space once more. Water Lily, the Bangladeshi national flower, fills the wetlands and miles and miles of rice paddy fields. It was good to be on the move.
We take a break near a Tailor’s shop and while he is plugging away at his pedal powered machine producing a magnificent salwar kameez we completely take over his tiny shack. Omari sits down and the piece of wood under him creaks, the Tailor shakes his head and offers him a chair. Later he proudly poses for a photo and we leave him a tip for our total invasion. I realise that on our bikes we connect with the locals, disarming and cultivating curiosity.
We arrive in Comilla and are delighted to find clean rooms and amazing views over the countryside. I pass out.
(Day 7) Comilla – Feni – 32 miles
We get up early eager to see the Mainamati ruins, but due to bureaucratic barriers and heavy traffic we are defeated. Instead Jebi, Anjub, Zillur, Jelina, Mathew and I pop into one of the numerous BRAC centres outside Comilla this one was for horticulture and we see the positive signs of a female work force.
We get back on our bikes and I discover that when in Bangladesh its not ‘deli belly’ it is the ‘chitta shittas’ you suffer from. It was thoroughly unpleasant and I became very fond of my friends Imodium and Dr Hussain. I also have my first collision with one of the Dhaka boys and get a bit of a fright, but we all jump up and everyone is fine, just some bruised hands and egos.
We arrive in Feni after a short day cycling and Jebi and I are welcomed by a technicolor guest room. We eat some peanut butter sandwiches, watch some Bollywood classics on the TV, and catch up on some sleep.