Saturday, April 25, 2009

Reeling in the nets

"Yesterday I got a strange call from a local NGO, who built boats for us after the 2007 Sidr cyclone and now needed a favour in return. Apparently, three white skinned students wanted to take a boat ride with us to see how we pull the nets in offshore. We always set off at two o'clock, but they were still not there by then. I called the NGO person by 2:30, but he didn't pick up the phone, so we set off without them."

"By the time we got back, the tallest of them was drinking tea and talking lunghi with the fishermen in the local cha shop. A shorter foreigner arrived on motorcycle with the NGO man. A tall girl with a T-shirt and Bangladesh cricket cap arrived on the motorcycle shortly after. They were all set to go into the boat, even though we had already pulled in our nets. For me, as a poor fisherman, it is slightly pricy to do boat tours, but guests are holy in our country."

"While we were showing how other boats catch the fish, the three foreign students kept insisting on 'helping' with the fishing. One of them got out to another boat to help, but quite frankly he was only lagging their work. Just to please them, we told them to catch one of the buoys of another boat, and reel in the net. We had a good laugh at their attempts, but they clearly had a good time. In the end, we only caught five pufferfish and two tiger prawns, but they didn't know this was a net we had reeled in just an hour ago already."

"Back at the shore, they all looked happy and started pushing the boat ashore with all their strength. Such naive people, but very nice company. One of them gave me a box of matches, saying it was a special gift to me. He asked me to open it. It held at least 250 taka inside. That was very kind of him, but the thing with the match box must be a strange form of European humour. Back at the tea shop, I copied the trick when paying the cha wallah. I must remember that joke."

To conclude: we had a fantastic time on the Bay of Bengal. View to the Sundarbans, great sunny weather, but not too hot. Even though we had a lot of fun, we will leave the fishing to the Bengalis from now on. We were just bad luck to the fishermen. But we did have a few delicious fish curries that night at our local fish fryer "Dulal"!

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