I’d known the existence of the place prior to booking my digs for the trip. The Chittagong Club. An approving nod to another time, and another world. 

This gentleman’s club is still going strong today with the great and the good from the port city and the locale vying for membership. An oasis of calm over-looking the craziness and intensity of Chittagong, with my love of imperial history I’d have been happy visiting just the once, however, happily this exclusive club has become our chosen venue for post match curry and beers at the close of play. It pays to know the right people around here, you know. Not that I do necessarily know the right people, but, a good chum of mine who arrived here a day or so before me gave me the all-important brief.
“Collared shirt, long trousers and shoes… Tell ’em you’re a guest of Mr Rubel. Pass it on!’ Now throughout my time in this charming city I’ve shaken hands, high-fived and have had selfies with seemingly most of the folk that live here. Mr Rubel, alas, has remained elusive. Which is a shame, as I’d like to shake him warmly by the hand and thank him for his magnanimity. A brief check of the register of the names who’ve passed through these doors recently, match officials, press men, snappers and the like suggests Mr Rubel is extremely popular, which is why, presumably, with all these esteemed people in front of me, I’ve not had chance to have an audience with the great man himself.

Signing in is something of a ceremonious procedure. The clerks on the door inspect your get-up before you pass through and into the lobby. A stately marble staircase dominates and pictures of committee members past stare down on you almost like a final security check. I must confess, I’ve winged it with my posh espadrilles this last week or so, because, rather sadly, in this part of the world some things are overlooked based on who you are.

The club was originally built by a local tea magnate in 1878, it was refurbished in 2012 and builders are still busy at work working on the next extension as the plans for the club and the neighbouring sports complex begin to take shape. Downstairs, there are ballrooms, committee rooms, dining rooms, and, naturally, as befitting gentleman’s clubs, a billiards room. There’s also, La Salle De Roses, which suggests that the Chittagong club are doing their bit for equality here. There is a very long way to go, however.

Upstairs, on the verandah, under the supervision of the brilliant waiting staff, staring across the lawns and the palm trees I’m transported back to that other time, that other world. The Chittagong Club has been one of the tour’s highlights. Here’s to you, Mr Rubel. 

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