Bidwell: Dodgy driving on Highway from Hell

HAMISH BIDWELL IN BANGLADESH
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014
Shane Warne
MANUS VAN DYK/ Getty
KNOWS HIS FOOD: Shane Warne.

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OPINION: It's not nice having people laugh at you. Especially when you first meet them. But that was the case earlier this week when two South African journalists asked how I'd made it to Chittagong.

''Did you hear that? This stupid oke came by bus. Are you an idiot? You must be insane, the flight from Dhaka only takes 45 minutes.''

Which would probably beat the seven hair-raising hours it took by road. Lonely Planet describes the route between Dhaka and Chittagong as the Highway From Hell and it's hard to argue. It didn't appear that any of the other passengers spoke a word of English, but they would've been very familiar with one that rhymes with duck come the end of the journey.

It's all very well being in a vehicle with some power but when, to get round pedestrians, rickshaws, tuk tuks, cars and trucks, that vehicle routinely goes so wide that it's beyond the opposite lane and into the dirt, you wish you weren't.

A game of chicken would then ensue, with a our driver keeping his hand hard on the horn and driving straight at the oncoming traffic. He might've been in the wrong lane, but he certainly felt he had right of way. That would be my cue to curl up in a ball and utter that rhyming word. The misses were very near, but the tape holding the windscreen and a few windows together, plus the panel jobs that need doing down the side, indicated there's been some hits too.

ON YA, WARNIE

Smart man, Shane Warne. In the early days of his playing career, the great Australian leg spinner decided he wouldn't get crook on the sub-continent if he didn't eat sub-continent food. So, along with all the playing gear and equipment they needed, the Australian team also took supplies to feed Warne's cereal and toasted sandwich-eating habits. Sound thinking.

The local cuisine served at these World Twenty20 matches has been first rate, but similar quality is hard to find elsewhere. That's where your western staples like chips and soft drink come in.

Having tired of those, I decided to order a chicken curry the other night. That could be made of ''country'' chicken or ''poultry'' chicken, one of which was tough as old boots, apparently. I went with the tender one, but attempts to cut it and make sure it was cooked proved unsuccessful. Just as well I'd gone for a side of fries, which I was able to dip in the delicious sauce after thinking better of the chicken. Now it's back to three tubes of Pringles a day. It probably doesn't constitute a balanced diet, but I think warmly of Warne every time I pop the top on another one.

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THANK YOU, ICC

Seldom has media accreditation yielded so much. From a very sticky tuk tuk situation the other night, to getting the wifi going at the hotel, coming home from a game with some documentation still slung round the neck has been very handy.

I was sure the tuk tuk episode would be the death of me. Well, after midnight, lost and being driven by a bloke who left the main roads and taken me through the alleys of a slum, I'd assumed I was going to be robbed and killed.

The prospects didn't seem a lot brighter when we came round a blind corner and into a group of armed police. There was shouting and waving of machine guns, before one was pointed at me and a gesture made to get out. Attempts to explain who I was and where I wanted to go went nowhere, until one policeman saw the accreditation ''ICC?'' I nodded.

Having asked if it was ok, I fished my phone out of my pocket and showed him an email with the address of the hotel I was staying. He shouted something at the driver and off we went. Similar happened with the hotel wifi. No-one could fix it, until a couple of nights later when I returned from another game still wearing the accreditation.

 ''You are sports correspondent? Why you not tell me earlier? Sports correspondent is guest of the government and the people of Bangladesh need to give sports correspondent facility.''

- Fairfax Media

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