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The Experience of Kolkata

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It is said that Kolkata is where you see life lived out on the street, this is certainly true, it is very much an experience of all of life. The sights and sounds are actually largely what I imagined, to be honest the smells less so than feared which is fortunate. During the day there is a constant cacophony of motor horns and bells, I’m sure we will stop noticing after a while but it is quite indescribable. The night-time is fairly quiet, at least on our road, just the occasional bicycle bell, building up to a chorus of birdsong as the dawn arrives.

Our room at Hotel Galaxy is perfectly fine, clean and comfortable (we have stayed in much worse in Europe). There are no covers on the bed, just a bottom sheet and pillows, but why would we need them, it is never below 26C. All day we see people sleeping everywhere and anywhere they can, on carts, in the back of their cabs, on the floor; so we know we are lucky to have a bed! From what we have read, we have done well to have such a place for the price so very pleased with that.

Crossing the road here is an experience alien to orderly European types, requiring the nerve of a matador, agility of a ninja and reactions of a fighter pilot. Traffic doesn’t stop, people just walk in front of it and around it. At the large roads running across town there are a few sets of traffic lights or there are policemen to control the junctions, so at least you can cross the widest fastest streets with more ease, but this often involves standing in the middle waiting to cross the second half where you are brushed by wing-mirrors, sides of busses, or people hanging out of busses.

Food so far has all been delicious. We have stuck to simple local cafés and street-stalls that do require a strong disposition to want to eat from but we have very quickly adjusted from European-norms. Yesterday as we sat opposite our favourite local food stall-cum-hole-in-the wall waiting for our dinner, we saw a rat run-over by a moped. We tried not to look at it as its tail twitched its last, but couldn’t avoid occasional glances as more wheels and feet passed its way; a minute or so later though it was gone without sign, no doubt someone picked it up for their dinner. This may sound a grim tale but it does describe our experience here which really is watching life happening. Anyway - no dodgy tummies as yet, both feeling good!

So all good so far, today we will book train tx for Gaya for next week, in the meantime we have more of Kolkata to explore plus a 3-day trip to the Sundarbarns which we're v excited about.


Rach & Tess

Posted by TessAndRach 21:20 Archived in India Tagged eating traveller experience sleeping kolkata calcutta

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Sounds like the start of a fabulous adventure! :)

by Ben McC

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