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Trip Start Jan 08, 2005
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Flag of Bangladesh  ,
Saturday, April 22, 2006

Back in Chittagong we decided that as Andrew and the boys had gone we would go for the lower budget hotel next door. It was a bargain at less than half the price. The people were really friendly too. Should have stayed there before. Plus when we got up for brekky the next morning, without being able to understand much English they brought our order out within about 4 mintues. In the swanky place next door everyone had the same complimentary breakfast everyday for 6 days and they still couldn't get it right!! Just goes to show money doesn't buy everything.

I've been to two one day internationals before, both in London and both, of course, supporting Australia. This one could go either way. Bangers has beaten us before in one day cricket (as I mentioned in another entry). They also have home ground advantage this time and one day games are much, much more popular than test matches. They're faster and more colourful (the guys wear colours instead of just off white and the ball is white instead of red making it easier to see!). But they do require different skills so some of our team line up was different. The selectors were also eager to test out some fresh blood in the lead up to the next World Cup next year.

The Bangladeshi supporters were going wild and the game hadn't even started! It was packed solid! There were a lot of army presence, as usual. There are lots of different types and up till now we still haven't found out the difference. The only ones to take any action over the time we've been here were the green-shirt bashers. There are the guards with the stripey shirts and black berets, the green shirt bashers, RAB with black bandanas and black shirts on motorbikes (looking suspiciously like CHiPs), the army fatigue guys in either green, brown and beige with red berets with red feathers or the helmet heads with orange and black fatigues or the blue, turquoise and beige fatigues. All of them carry guns with bayonets and whacking sticks or pistols, there are also beige shirt and trouser police but I haven't figured out their function. It seemed that the entire Bangladeshi police and armed forces just happened to be stationed at the cricket ground on the days of the cricket. How coincidental. What luck, even.

We ended up chatting to a huge bunch of young guys, all aged about 21. Well, most of them were talking to me as everyone else was watching the cricket. It's a bit like India in that there are so many people here that they have no concept of personal space. They just kept edging closer and closer until they were practically sitting right on top of us. In the end a couple of our guys had to tell them to back off and give us some air!! But they were all excited to be able to speak to foreigners. There was one guy that kept singing 'I'm a Barbie Girl' in a frighteningly high pitched voice. I asked him if he actually understood what he was singing. They were more like 14 year olds than 21 year olds but I had fun talking to them. They nearly wet themselves when I agreed to have my photo taken with them - one by one............!!!!!

As for the day's cricket, have a read of David's for a full description. I just can't do it justice. The Banger supporters went crazy for everything. They had drums and horns and flags and banners and shouted stuff. It was great! So much excitement! Suffice to say that we lost the toss, got sent into bowl and cleaned them up all out for 197, but then struggled to make even that target!! We did manage to win though with my mate, Adam Gilchrest picking up Man of the Match for some outstanding batting. Everyone congratulated us on our win and all wanted to shake our hands. They were simply excited that Australia had come over to play. Very proud, as one guy told me. He even invited me to 'see his university'. That's a new one!!

Later that evening David had stepped out and I was sitting in our hotel room watching tv when there was a knock at the door. I thought it was David so I got a bit of a shock when these three girls appeared. They asked if they could come in and chat. I'm thinking ...... Ok, this is a bit strange. I thought they might pull knives on me and rob me blind!! But turns out all they wanted to do was have a bit of a look at me and a chat, which turned out to be quite difficult because their English wasn't much better than my Bangladeshi!! But I worked out that they were all sisters and were all at various stages of university life. Then there was another knock and in strolled more people, and more and more. They were all members of this family!!! I had the Brady Bunch times about 4 all in there wanting to shake my hand and know my name! I got the Mum and Dad and Aunty, Uncle, nephews, nices, brothers, sisters and husbands and wives! The father wanted to know what I ate for dinner and my religion. They were all muslims and had one friend that was a chrisian. They were quite sweet and on exiting my room one of the girls asked for my autograph!! Bizarre.

That's Chittagong. Didn't see that much of it unfortunately. They do have a cool market to wander round that goes and goes and goes with people shouting 'hello' and waving a lot and it is hillier and greener than Dhaka.

Tomorrow we're bussing it back to Dhaka to try and pick up another Indian visa and to perhaps check out the two other one dayers.
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