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Glossop to

...and back

For those who have not witnessed the loading of containers at minor ports, this is how it's done.

Using a crane, somehow, get the first container into place on the ship. Then pick up the second container from the dockside, and, using the first container as an end-buffer, carefully smash things around until the second looks in about the right position, next to the first. Continue this routine until the ship is full with dented boxes.

For some reason, loading my truck's container was accomplished using the same care as when carrying an egg in an "egg and spoon" race. Unfortunately, the loading of the container next to mine was done in the manner with which you'd make an omlette with the aforementioned egg.

Finally things were complete, and I said goodbye to my life-support machine for a week. Left only with the bike and a couple of mini-rucksacks, I was alone in the world.

Up, up and away. I only felt like climbing into the crane cabin and generously slapping the "operator" around the head on a few occasions.

Finally loaded, but the drama not over. I'm sure the crane operator was trying to swat a fly at the same time as loading the subsequent adjacent container.

The journey from Bangladesh to Singapore for me was to be by air. And the best way to accomplish this is to go to the airport.

Bangladesh airport is new. And completely empty. It has been designed as if they'll be staging the next Olympic Games here - a massive building, fully furnished with all the standard airport trimings. Only it's 227 times too big for the current daily passenger volume.

As my entry visa hadn't been stamped by the officials on entry to Bangladesh, surprise of all surprises, there was meltdown in the immigration hall when I presented my passport for exit. "You are not here, sir. You don't have an entry stamp." This being a problem which was entirely of their own making, I left headless chickens to make telephone calls for the next 10 minutes.

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Weeks 18 to 20 (continued)