I had a bad night’s sleep as I couldn’t switch off my mind. My alarm rang at 6.45am and I snoozed until 7am when I started packing up my things. I was served breakfast by Sumon’s mum at 8am, then had time for a quick lie down because Sumon wasn’t going to be up until around 9am, when I said I’d leave. Once again I went through a sad farewell to some of the nicest people I have ever met. I was given a load of food to take, including two apples, a fruit I don’t know, three coconuts and two packets of biscuits. Then I was served a second breakfast of rice and beef with Sumon (the first was apples, noodles and eggy bread), just 45 minutes after the first one.

Soon after leaving Bheramara, I came across Lalon Shah Bridge but wasn’t allowed to cross by bicycle. I was made to wait for an unladen pickup truck to come along that could drive me across. Fortunately, the guys at the toll gate arranged it and I wasn’t cheated for money, being told to just give 10t (AU$0.14) to the guys taking me over. On the other side I took a small road northwest, which deteriorated into a mainly dirt single lane road, giving me more insight into rural life in Bangladesh. When I stopped in a piece of shade to check my location, I was waved towards a shop at which a large guy with minimal English prompted a conversation. He ended up inviting me to his house for lunch. He closed up his shop and led me to his home where his wife served up rice with fish and vegetables. Next door to the house was the office of a Bangladesh-run NGO for microfinance. I was invited into the home of one of the employees (just next door) where I was fed even more food. The amounts of food I’m being ‘forced’ to east is phenomenal. Bangladeshis don’t take no for an answer, even when you say you’re going to be sick if you eat it all.

Why is it that the poorer you are the more you are happy to give freely? Is it because life is generally a struggle anyway, so helping people, despite the fact that it contributes to your struggle, is no great hardship because the struggle is there anyway, so you may as well do something for other people along the way?

I rode on to Natore and checked the price of one hotel, which was 700t (AU$10 – expensive!) before spotting a ‘residential motel’, where I now have a room for 160t (AU$2.30). I think there might be bed bugs, but I’ve come to be surprised if I get a bed without them these days.

Day 566 (pic)

Over the bridge

Accommodation $ Hotel
Distance ridden today 59.12km
Average cycling speed 13.2kph
Total distance ridden 14,657km