Travels

Kafka in Bangladesh, a travel anecdote worthy of the Czech writer (or Joseph Heller)

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I think a trip without anecdotes can be a good trip, but a trip with anecdotes is a great trip. When life imitates art, you can find the kafkian situation that you cannot go to a site without a permit that is only issued on that site, as happened to me in Bangladesh.

And then that situation becomes a challenge, the way to solve it is sought and, if you succeed, rises to the anecdote range.

I found myself in such a situation traveling through Bangladesh, when I wanted to go from Chittagong, an industrious and port city to the south of the country, to the Bandarban District, a semi-wild mountains and jungle area where, in some areas, there was tribal guerrilla activity.

No, my planned route did not include any of those areas.

One morning I went to Chittagong Bus Station and looked for the ticket office.

“A ticket to Bandarban”, I asked the employee.

"Do you have permission?", he replied.

As you can guess, I answered another question because I didn't know what he was talking about, and that's how I learned that to go to the Bandarban District a special permit was necessary which could only be requested and obtained only at the government offices of the Bandarban District and nowhere else.

He Deputy Commisioner (or D. C., Vice Commissioner) of the Bandarban District, who was in his government office in Bandarban, was the only person who could grant me travel authorization but without authorization to travel I could not reach him.

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