Bidwell: Sights, smells and sounds of Chittagong

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014
Chittagong
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ON THE BALL: Local kids play street cricket alongside railway tracks in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

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OPINION: Doesn't take much to give you a fright over here.

An early knock at the door did the trick yesterday morning. Just turned out to be a thirsty member of a one-man Barmy Army.

Our man, from Sunderland, had arrived in Chittagong the night before. Having followed England through Sri Lanka and India, he regarded himself as well seasoned in surviving the sub-continent. Never seen a place like Chittagong, though.

The England team, along with various ICC staff, broadcasters and the Black Cap, s are staying in a hotel where it is said you can get a beer in the bar. In theory, Bangladesh is dry, but it appears you can find a drink if you need one.

Our man did, stood, as he was, outside the door with pen and paper and having changed from his navy Barmy Army shirt and cap into white ones.

"What's the name of that hotel, like? I don't need a beer now, mind. But by 12 o'clock I will."

He'd had a bad start to his stay, showering with the bathroom window and curtain open. When he realised he was being watched intently by a man in the next building he resolved never to make that mistake again.

The Englishman and I first met in the hotel lobby, at 5.30am. The 5am call to prayers at the mosque 20 metres down the alley from the hotel could wake the dead, and a friendly Anglo Saxon face isn't the worse thing to find after shambling downstairs to feed a nicotine habit.

It's not just the sounds from the mosque that catch your attention, but the sights and smells. Waist-high concrete cubicles have been erected outside, where people squat over a hole and go about their business.

As long as you can put up with the mosquitoes nibbling at your feet, jandals are a good option over here. But they weren't the other night, when a massive storm washed the contents from those cubicles down the alley.

Nothing a quick shower couldn't fix and, being the modest type, I always keep the curtains closed.

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- Fairfax Media

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