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storm 33 °C

How do so many people fit into a square kilometre? And more impressively, how do they all manage to get on with daily life when all huddled so closely together? Also, how do Indians get vehicles through spaces where there are no spaces.

So, we have found good breakfast fuel stop with JoJo’s (Stuart St) – banana pancakes and cereal lassi, yum, with chai of course. We have now succeeded in purchasing train tickets for Gaya for next Monday. From there we walked towards the flower market, underneath Howrah Bridge. This was a very interesting place, stall after stall of yellow and orange flower garlands, ladies squatting tending to their precious blooms by pouring river water on them to keep them fresh. Interspersed by the odd chai seller or lady selling fruit or garlic and onions.

From here we decided to walk through a different area, which was different and yet the same. Very busy, very loud, no pavements to walk on due to all the stalls, mad traffic to contend with (though we’re starting to negotiate traffic like locals), lots and lots of men with impossibly large packages on their heads and smells varying from smoky stoves cooking up various yummies, to smells of bike tyres and occasional stinky toilets. Every sense is completely bombarded.

Another note about the roads (as it warrants it!) There are lines on the road but they mean nothing, the horn is king, vehicles don't tend to have reverse lights or indicators, again, the horn is your means. Also, to make it even more interesting, here in Kolkata the one-way system reverses at 1pm. We'll leave you to imagine how all that put together pans out...

Yesterday we visited Mother Teresa House. We got half way when, almost suddenly, the sky turned black and day turned to night. The loudest thunder I have ever heard rang out through the streets and the lightning illuminated everything in its path. At first the rain came slowly and it was quite pleasant in the humid air, we didn’t take shelter as we thought we could cope, being from Manchester and all and we didn’t have far to go. However, within 200m of the Mother Teresa House, the skies opened. Within 30 seconds we were both as drenched as though we’d been dunked in a bath.

At this point we didn’t know whether to go to the House or to go home to dry off (as we couldn’t find the House even though we were so close)… Luckily a man at a bus stop (who we’d spoken to earlier when trying unsuccessfully to shelter form the rain) pointed us down a small alleyway where the House stood.

So into the courtyard we go, dripping like soggy rats. The nuns there were immediately welcoming and we felt at ease. We went through a little courtyard, being quiet as we went as there was a service taking place. We found a little museum dedicated to the life of MT, which was v informative and interesting; then went up a small flight of stairs to see the room where MT had worked from. This was her room from 1950-1997 and also the room where she died. Simple but clean and comfortable – 100 times better than the conditions that many Kolkatans have to live with.

Our journey back to ranch was challenging but ultimately funny, through the half river/half streets that remained after the heaviest rain had gone through; we waded much of the way :-/

And so home for a dry off and do our first laundry (might as well after the drenching. The water was black!). Then back to JoJos for dinner, as it is still raining and we don’t want to go anywhere further than our road! (Tonight’s dinner total: £3, with starter!).

Still to come - Victoria Memorial and the middle-class district of Salt Lake City (it's built around a salt lake so the name was borrowed, real name Bindannaghar... It also has a Central Park!), to see how the other half live.

Good Times in all, we enjoyed our first monsoon!

T and R

Posted by TessAndRach 07:11

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Sounds very interesting glad you are both enjoying

it good luck

by Gran and Gramps

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