Yesterday, along with a lot of other people in Rangamati, I went for a picnic. With my director, his family, a member of the executive committee, his family, and another man, and his family. I think I’ve met this other man before, but can’t say for sure. It’s a problem, forgetting names AND faces. I meet so many people here that I can’t possibly remember them all. But unfortunately, they all remember me. So now I just pretend I know everyone, just in case I HAVE actually met them before. People tend to be disappointed when I don’t recognise them, so pretending I’ve met everyone before really is the easiest way. If I haven’t actually met them before, then they just think I’m super friendly. Win-win.
So in the morning, our group hopped on a boat, and cruised around Kaptai lake, stopping at a few places on the way. First up was a waterfall spot popular with tourists. Except there is only water in the waterfall during, or just after, the rainy season. Going any other time of year is pretty odd, as it’s just a rock face, with a stagnant pool of water at the bottom. But this doesn’t stop anyone, it’s still a must on picnic day.
The booze come out at about 12ish. Bangladesh’s finest. Brandy. Only a little half jack, enjoyed by the men of the group. And me. I didn’t know how to say ‘If I drink at lunch time I either need to push on, or go to sleep’ in Chakma, so when we stopped at our official picnic spot, I promptly fell asleep. With my orna (boob scarf) as a picnic blankie. Despite having everything but the kitchen sink (but including a full size gas bottle and an actual gas hob) on board, there wasn’t a blanket between us to sit on. Woke up to 19 people peering down at me to tell me lunch was ready. A quick feed and we were on our way again. Nothing in Bangladesh happens quite as quickly as feeding time. It’s always a quick get-in, get-out kind of affair. No hanging around. No chatting. No afters.
At various points along the way I was slightly concerned the boat might tip over and drown us all, but luckily I was wrong. Health and safety, as a concept, doesn’t exist here. So boats don’t have to pass any kind of fitness/ water worthy test to carry 20 passengers. Or 500 passengers. Bangladesh has had a flurry of high profile ferry disasters recently, with high death tolls. So getting on the water now makes me a little, you know, nervous.
Drowning fears and lunch time drinking drowsiness aside, it’s a great way to spend a day out here. Lots of fun, lots of fresh air, great scenery. But no, no dancing. Loud music yes, but dancing no.
* A half jack of brandy doesn’t really qualify this as a booze cruise. But then, I am in Bangladesh. So yes, I guess it does.