As you may know Mike and I are in Bangladesh at the moment for our winter trip. Before I get stuck in with our news I'll update you on what happened before we left.
I had rashly decided to enter the Norwich City Half Marathon with just 6 weeks to train. Breaking a few rules on how best to go about this, I took the risk on Sunday 23rd November and plodded round the course in 2hrs and 49 minutes. I didn't break any records but achieved my goals which were as follows:
2. Don't come last.
3. No injuries.
I also completed a battle against the weather, with torrential rain and a gale force wind. I pleaded with Mike to find himself a nice warm hostelry so that he could drink coffee but to my amazement he was at the half way point taking photos and cheering me on. A welcome sight, and he was joined with two fellow drowned rats, Sandra and Mark at the finish line, who's presence gave me wings with which to get over the line.
The marathon formed a part of what can only be described as an extremely busy weekend. Mike and I combined it with cleaning and repacking the van, cleaning and emptying the flat, and publishing my first book.
If you are new to this blog about people who live full-time in a motorhome, you may be a little mystified at the use of the words, flat, marathon and book.
We rented the flat for six months to give me the opportunity to get my book done and to spend some time with friends in Norfolk. As we haven't got a base in terms of a property to return to between trips we always agreed that if either of us needed a breather we would take a short term rental. I didn't strictly need a flat in order to write a book but I knew it would increase the likelihood of getting it done. Having lived full-time in a van conversion for over four years, we have realised that the winter becomes quite difficult to cope with in inclement weather. If it's too windy or there is any rain we can't have the sliding door open and this makes it claustrophobic inside. Mike read a travel article about Bangladesh and the idea of going on a backpacking adventure to such a mysterious country appealed to us both.
We found some reasonably priced flights with Emirates, to the capital, Dhaka, via Dubai. I booked them, giving us a trip duration of 63 days. I then researched visas only to discover that the maximum stay is 60 days. Shortly after I posted the documents I received a phone call from the Bangladesh High Commission. They were concerned as to the purpose of our visit. I was requested to send an email in order to explain where we were heading, the caller also reassured me that we could get a visa extension from the visa office in Dhaka before we left. We both breathed a huge sigh of relief when the visas arrived exactly one week before we were due to depart. I also booked our first hotel in Dhaka to give us a chance to acclimatise on our arrival. The Hotel Pacific is recommended by The Lonely Planet guide, they had a website and the rooms were reasonably priced. We chose a superior non-A/C room and noted that this was an ensuite room with hot water. There was even a picture of the generator on the website to reassure us that constant electricity would be available.
Our last night in Norfolk was spent at the Travelodge in Norwich and from there we could almost fall down to the bus station the following morning to catch the National Express to Gatwick. The beginning of our long haul journey.