The day finally arrived for our boat ride out of Chittagong. We were looking forward to leave Chittagong behind, and exploring new territories.
Looking forward to a great boat ride, done in style, we paid a lot of money for our ride from Chittagong to Barisol across the Bay of Bengal. To truth be told, I was really hoping that we hadn’t spent a lot of money for something horrible. Travis had really wanted a boat ride, and having already skipped so many boat rides on our trip, I really wanted to make Travis happy. Unfortunately I had the feeling that our room would be very basic and our ride, not so great. I just didn’t have a good feeling about the whole thing, but kept my premonition to myself as to not ruin Travis’ fun.
We headed to the dock early in the morning and were there as requested, 1h before departure. Travis went to get snacks (chapatis, oranges and water) while I waited with the bags. I watched as people arrived to the docks, some with no bags at all (a weird but most common sight in this country) and some with quiet a lot of luggage. There were a great buzz of activity at the fruit stand, with most people loading up on grapes. Surprisingly, everyone left me along.
With Travis back, we put on our bags and headed to our boat. The first thing we noticed was that our boat wasn’t the same as the one in the picture. The picture had shown a steam paddle boat, but this was just a steam boat. I guess that this meant no “Rocket” for us.
We boarded our boat by walking over a different boat and going up a precarious ladder. The deck was packed with people loading goods and trying to find a good spot for the long journey ahead. We managed to find our cabin, cabin #5, and went in.
As soon as we went in, my heart sank. We had paid a lot, and I mean, a whole lot of money for this “family” room. Yes, it had a double bed and an attached bathroom, while the “first class” cabins only had 1 single bed, but whoa. The bed was dirty – we later joked around about how this could make a great office pool: everyone could bet how many days would go by before the sheets got washed (my bet: never). But the real kicker was this: the room was literally moving with cockroaches. And I hate cockroaches. Even the garbage can’s bottom was littered with carcasses of every size. Suddenly, this wasn’t fun. The room was my definition of a personal hell, and I wanted to have nothing to do with it. The expected travel time was 18 hours, and with even the bed crawling in cockroaches (and a pretty good guarantee of bed bugs too I’m sure), there was no way that we’d 1) sleep, 2) relax, 3) enjoy ourselves.
(The photo *really* doesn’t do it justice, but I didn’t have it in me to properly document the horror.)
I started to cry. Travis left me in the room while he went to find out if we were in fact in the correct room (clearly this couldn’t be the right one, could it?) when a giant cockroach came out from under the bed (you know, the huge ones with wings). I screamed and ran out of the room to stand on the deck. I started to cry even more, but now under the gaze of many strangers. I was mad, upset, resentful. I hated Travis for putting us on here.
Travis got back, and tried to comfort me. He kept saying that I was strong and that I could do this. I didn’t doubt that I could do this: the fact was that I didn’t want to do this. I wanted off the boat, even if it meant losing our money and having to do the whole trip by train via Dhaka. It wasn’t a good situation because if we stayed, I’d hate Travis and if we left, he’d hate me.
In the end, my not wanting Travis to hate me and the very likely reality of the train ride taking days (tickets would most likely be sold out, as they usually are, or we’d have to stand the entire ride) won over my utter dislike of the boat. The whistle blew and we left the port.