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Our daily, weekly and monthly routines have remained
pretty much the same since we took up residence in
The hoped for membership of the Barisal Club has not
yet happened, though we have been allowed to use the
facilities whenever we've wanted to, but we haven't
been pushing it because the incentive is not there any
more since it has been empty every time we have
Unfortunately we haven't discovered any other venues
to get to know the local people in Barisal, and we've
not been able to find any new areas of interest worth
visiting at weekends, so we spend most of our time in
our small apartment where the internet has become
almost our entire entertainment because the cable
TV service has not improved since we've been here.
At least that option is now available unlike some of our
earlier postings a few years ago.
Viv has made friends, on a commercial basis, with many
of the shop keepers and stall holders in the area but
limited English keeps that relationship at a very basic
Hash House Harriers
There was however one brief, bright spot in our
entertainment when a small group from the Dhaka
Mixed Hash, led by Peter 'Ho Chi Wing' Winglee
visited over a holiday weekend in May.
Jack had previously scouted out a couple of run trails
near Barisal and the first and second runs of the
Barisal 'Delta' HHH duly took place - to the
amazement of the local inhabitants - in tranquil rural
settings with a mixture of obstacles not normally
encountered on the Dhaka runs.
The Circles afterwards were a little difficult, to
arrange to avoid upsetting local sensitivities, so they
eventually took place in a private room at the Barisal
Club, thanks to Juned 'Sir Rail Jerker' Choudhury for
the first run and in one of the visitors' rooms at the
Arena Hotel for the second run.
It certainly was a very welcome break from our
normal routine and it included a day out to Kuakata
Beach at the southern tip of our peninsula. Kuakata
doesn't compare very well with other international
seaside resorts but it's 'claim to fame' is that you
can see the sunrise and sunset from the same spot on
Also, in the context of the limited tourist attractions
in Bangladesh, it rates quite high amongst the local
Jack's work continues to go very slowly. Because of the
very large population and cheap labour everything is
planned on a labour-intensive basis but when
recruitment is difficult, as it is in this rural area, the
contractors have no back-up plan to use any other
methods, so work just creeps along.
This situation is accepted on most of their projects and
the contracts are automatically extended to meet their
completion dates. They are not used to the strict
contract enforcement on international projects and so
we have a 'cultural' clash.
Some of the younger engineers appreciate the situation
and are keen to look for alternatives but they are
concerned about holding on to their jobs and not rocking
the boat so nothing new is tried.
It's a very slow process to try to change their thinking
but at least it's an opportunity to try to encourage
them to modernise their methods and even a small
success in that regard is very satisfying.
July has seen an end to the pleasant, consistently dry
weather though, so far, the monsoon season is not quite
as we had expected.
Unlike other areas where we have lived where there is
heavy rainfall for the same few hours every day for a
few weeks, here it is at much more irregular intervals
and variable intensity. A bit like English weather only
Apparently the rainfall in August is usually more intense
so we will have to wait to see.
The temperature and humidity have also increased but
it is still quite pleasant, especially just after the
Of course, even light showers make many of Jack's
construction sites inaccessible since most of the roads
are unsealed and the soil in the delta area is
However, at least this year, he managed to persuade
the contractors to build up the materials stocks at all
of the sites before the start of the monsoon so that
they could continue working. Unlike last year when work
came to almost a complete halt between June and
October on many of the sites!
29 July 2014 – Bangladesh Routine & UK Trip
A bit of local competition
We had originally planned some leave for about July, and we
would have probably gone back to Brisbane, or to some
exotic nearby country for a change, but then Samantha
decided to go England for a friends wedding in June. Since
Kimberly was already there we decided on 'another last'
visit to England instead.
It was all a bit of a rush and the first time we had gone back
to England at that time of year so we weren't sure what to
expect from the weather.
We packed a few warm clothes but only needed them briefly
after we arrived because the weather was very nice for all
of our outdoor excursions and the little bit of rain didn't
affect any of our plans.
Apart from Sam's wedding commitments at the beginning
and end of our holiday, our plan was to hire a car and for the
four of us to drive together to visit as many of our old
friends as possible.
That turned out to be very successful with only one visit
having to be cancelled through unavailability of our host.
It was really great to see everyone again and they are to be
hugely thanked for their wonderful hospitality.
Jim & Gwen
Richard & Teeny
Pete & Margaret
Rob & Delia
Lawayne & Family
|The two school/cyclone shelter designs
Another one of the few places of interest in the area
|Dhaka Mixed HHH
One of our rare visits to the capital