28th October 2010 – 200 miles
We took the 1.10am Dover Calais ferry where we met a German Land Rover enthusiast who had just purchased this vehicle on eBay and was driving it back home to renovate it. I hope that ours won’t end up as bad as his once we’ve completed our overland!
Having braved Paris’ (early) rush hour, we arrived at our hotel on the outskirts of the city at 8am, where we were allocated room 911. I hope that this is not an omen of things to come!
We managed to get some R&R for a couple of hours and then we were out the door, heading for Paris by Metro, in our search of fellow countrymen.
Our quest started at the Eiffel Tower where we half expected at least a couple of street hawkers being of our extraction. This led to a wild goose chase to Champs Elysee followed by a chance encounter with some young Bangladeshi guys in Strasbourg Saint-Denis (and some militant strikers parading through the streets).
Following a well-deserved cuppa, we were then taken by these guys to Gare du Nord to meet some more brethren. Their stories that brought them to Paris were both varied and fascinating. One thing that was abundantly clear was that Bangladeshis in Paris were not by any means as established as their British Bangladeshi counterparts and this community are encountering major socio-economic struggles, not to dissimilar to our forefathers back in the day. Interestingly, they commented that the French were very hospitable and the hostility that they faced were from other migrant communities. We’ve managed to film some video diaries, which we plan to edit upon our return, so watch this space!