World traveler Clown Tom Bolton
Adventure stories & photos
Tom’s travels in Bangladesh
I didn’t actually travel around Bangladesh but was in Dhaka for 2 days on a stopover in early 1989 while going from Thailand to Nepal. I flew on Bangladesh Biman the National Airline, as it was the cheapest flight I could find. We didn’t even have to pass customs; we were just thrown on a rickety bus and driven into the center to a large but horrible cinder-block hotel. I think I just slept that evening but since we weren’t leaving until late the next day, I took the opportunity to walk around the city with a couple of other tourists from my flight. From the air, it looked like much of Dhaka was under water although the weather was dry. The first photo shows houses along a canal. The structures and narrow footpaths to reach them were elevated on poles so I imagine it was an interesting area to live in during the rainy season.
Wandering around it seemed that half of the city was one continuous market. As I doubt they see many tourists there, we were quite the attraction and were followed every step of the way by curious boys jumping in front of my camera at every opportunity.
Markets full of food
The markets were actually full of food. Like in India, hunger there is usually not due to a lack of food but not enough money to buy it. I arrived from Bangkok hungry myself as the airline didn’t have my ordered veggie meal and I was given the choice of chicken or nothing, so I took the chicken. There was white rice with it so I had something to eat as I don’t eat meat but there weren’t even any veggies with it. With such budget saving strategies one wonders how they kept the planes flying. Taking the cheapest flights often lead to interesting situations, like when I flew on Aeroflot with a half day stopover in Moscow airport during the Soviet times. Soldiers marching about and banners to the revolution, stewardesses who looked like weigh-lifters who scowled and gave you just half a cup of coffee. It seemed like a parody out of a cold war era “anti-commie” film but that’s another story.
Slaughtered animals unrefrigerated
Chickens were plentiful and at least this use of nets seemed more airy for the animals than most cramped cages I’ve seen and more humane than the hanging carcasses in the following shot.
A couple of other foreigners accompanied me through Dhaka. I told the people that this French woman was my wife just to keep them from getting any strange ideas. An unmarried white woman would have been targeted for unwanted attention. But both kids and adults seemed facinated by seeing us wandering around.
These tricycle taxis seemed to be the most popular way to get around or transport things. And they were very persistent about offering their services.
Street performance in Dhaka
I bought some oranges and made a little street show. I wondered if the people were not more curious as to who might get to eat the oranges than they were about my juggling. The sun was burning and my hands were sweaty and sticky but I didn’t get any complaints! We had experienced many halfhearted attempts at begging over the day and I ended my show off by saying they now had to give ME something. Didn’t work of course but sure puzzled them as how they should react to a foreigner asking them for baksheesh. But in the end I was a nice guy and the woman below got a gift
So, those were just a few tales from my many travels over the last thirty and something years. I hope you've enjoyed another side of a traveling clown! If you want, write me an email or better yet, book my show or set a link to this website or just state me as the beneficiary of your will!
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