The friendly secretary demanded we pay him a personal ‘gift’ for his help. We politely declined.
The boss asked us in for an interview. He asked sternly whether I wore T-shirts and shorts at home, and why Adam did a degree in Philosophy when he did not now work as a Philosopher. He asked why were we in Agaltara, as there were no British companies in the area. He wasn’t quite sure what tourism was. He asked disapprovingly why we wanted to visit all of these countries.
We got the visa by 4pm and were off the next day to Bangladesh!!!
Outside the customs office two newspaper people turned up on scooters. They had seen us in town and followed us to the border to get a good bit of copy. So, stood outside customs, still in our helmets, surrounded on all sides, we had our first ever press interview! There was even a photo shoot! It was bizarre being recorded, and the crowd was gathered all the way around us, not understanding a word. The press guys left, and returned later with a ceremonial scarf that they hung around Adam. They had signed it for us with a little message. I was chuffed.
The border took us 6 hours. This was a record. It took over two hours just to exit India. The bureaucracy-crazed lady at the desk was not going to let us leave India without an entirely fictional permission from customs. Eventually we found someone who had seen our type before and processed us in a far more friendly manner.
At the Bangladeshi customs there was the usual crowd around us, and the lovely customs officer in Bangladesh gave us lemon leaf tea and biscuits and taught us some Bangla while a big crowd watched, and sniggered at our pronunciation.
We were off to Dhaka, and it was 3pm. We had hoped to be on our way by 10am. Oh well.
We were a bit screwed at this point. We had no petrol, no food, no water, and no Bangladeshi money. We also had no language in common with anyone. We stopped in the nearest large border town and asked around in the banks, before unhappily confirming there was no way to change money and no ATMs outside Dhaka.
An hour later saw us in a fancy hotel foyer in our grubby, grubby clothing, with a penguin suited man wheeling our grubby, grubby luggage into the lift. Whoop!! It was far too expensive, and therefore exactly what I was after considering the past days adventuring. Here we will recover.