Barishal Blog Experiencing Bangladesh

Digging up the Memories to Barishal

January 25, 2019

Finding your root is always interesting and surprising! Especially when you are not in touch with them and don’t know from where to start. Being a child of a broken family, I have lost all my connection with my father and his family. As far as I can remember, I have been to his house when I was a child and can’t remember anything clearly. The only thing I could remember was the Launch journey and some amazing family memories. My father left us many years before and after that, we haven’t even thought about going there. Yes! Barishal is the place of my ancestors and I wanted to explore that place and write for my blog.

Barishal is a major city that lies on the bank of the Kirtankhola river in south-central Bangladesh. A division that has a lot of historical values from the British period to the Liberation war! I found a Spanish photographer, Alberto was coming from Taiwan and looking for recommendations to explore Bangladesh. Though I was traveling in a different part of Bangladesh at that time, I have decided to offer him a trip to Barishal. Hearing about the launch journey, rivers, and some historical monuments he said ‘yes to the plan! You can ask me, why did I offer a foreigner to go with me? My answer would be, I want to show him my country and explore something that usually people can’t manage if they travel alone inside Bangladesh.

Many of you know, that I was a journalist before becoming a social worker! So, I have some friends who belong to that area. One of them is ‘Reza’ who is a successful journalist with a lot of extra skills that helped him to be popular among others. Those who know him could easily relate to me. It’s not only that he is famous, but also the icon of the young generation in his birthplace, called Barishal. I haven’t thought twice before I called him to share about my plan to the place. As I said, the helpful guy, shared all the details and told me to share my dates before I go there.

Last week, when Alberto arrived in Dhaka, I texted him to confirm his trip, so that we could purchase tickets for the launch. After exchanging a lot of texts, on WhatsApp, we have decided to purchase tickets for Monday! Guys, if you want to buy tickets for the launch trip, you have few options, 1) you can get online tickets from Shohoz.com, 2) go to Sadarghat (The Launch Terminal, Dhaka) a day earlier to get tickets, or 3) go to the ghat during the day you want to travel. It’s obvious that if you book online you have to pay some extra amount but the process is hassle-free, buying from Sadarghat would be hassling because of language & distance and lastly getting tickets on the same date of the journey might not be pleasing for having limited seats. There are options for double, single, ac, non-ac, deck, and sofa for the travelers, and the prices vary depending on the quality of launch and room facilities.

We have decided to buy two Non-AC Single Rooms for us and I booked online. Right after we booked, I have received another request from Couch Surfing me! A Russian guy who wanted to come to my house for four days! After he arrived, I asked him about joining the trip to Barisal and he agreed. I booked another ticket and started preparing ourselves to start on Monday evening.

As you know, Dhaka is a crazy city with a lot of traffic on weekdays. So, I informed Alberto who lived in Banani to start early to the Sadarghat. Since Artem, the Russian guy was staying at my place we have decided to start early as well. Interestingly, during our journey day, I and Artem were in Banani due and decided to take Alberto with us to the Sadarghat. We took a CNG auto-rickshaw from Banani that cost 450 BDT due to having huge traffic and distance. We started around 5:30 PM and reached 7:45 PM to the Sadarghat. We stopped in the last terminal and purchased gate passes that cost 30 Taka (10 Each) to go inside.

We found the terminal of Shurovi 9, a renowned launch for going to Barishal. The departure time of our launch was supposed to be 8:45 PM and the arrival time was 6 AM. If you read my blog about the Italian Guy, you will learn about Bangladeshi time and keep that in your mind!

The ship departed 9:30 PM instead of 8:45 PM from the ghat!! I and Alberto were talking about a lot of issues that time on the balcony and later we both left for the room. I locked myself inside the room and hoped to go to the balcony for a quick look after few hours! It’s a pity that people around were not very gentle and started knocking on my door after an hour. Since I have heard about this kind of people, I didn’t respond and kept silent. Keeping this situation in mind, let’s check some quick tips while traveling inside the launch. Especially for female travelers, I would suggest you leave the balcony early, lock your door properly and keep your important stuff like water, snacks inside, and better finish using toilets before everyone going inside the room. Otherwise, you might get into trouble like teasing, harassment by the service boys or random guys on the dark balcony. So, it would be better if you keep one guy or female traveler with you during traveling by launch to ensure your safety. To the guys, you can roam around alone in the night and for you it’s safe.

I texted Artem, quickly and told him to come if he is free because I was thirsty and wanted to buy water. After he arrived, I went to the shop and bought a bottle of water. I couldn’t sleep because service boys kept knocking on the door and disturbed me for the whole night. The experience was scary. I woke up with the sound of the arrival siren at 4:30 AM. I went out and met that asshole who knocked me at the door. He seemed very complaining because I didn’t open the door in the night. My behavior was very cold and I asked him about the last time we could leave the launch. My friend Reza, told me earlier that we could wait until 6:0 AM and then we can start for the hotel. The guy checked my booking and gave me tickets for the other travelers and wanted some money as a tip from me. I told him, that I know that I had enough time to leave and not to disturb other travelers. He left with disappointment since I didn’t pay him anything. Later I texted both by saying that they don’t need to give him any money and stay inside the room until 6 AM.

Before departing Reza has given me the number of Dipu Bhai who was the key contact person in Barishal! You can’t imagine how generous the person is! He arranged everything for us and booked a nice hotel just near The Grand Park, Barishal. We took an auto from the Barishal ghat and went to Hotel Charu! We paid the auto driver 50 Taka and checked in!

Though it was a boat journey but was very hectic for all of us! However, we decided to wake up around 9:30 AM and meet Dipu Bhai at his office for a morning coffee…

The Hotel room was clean and amazing! I was satisfied and sleepy….

We all went to our rooms and slept for three hours. All of us were hoping for a fresh morning with a great experience. But for me, it was more like getting in touch with the root that was still buried!

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1 Comment

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