A Travellerspoint blog

Our Vicky

The Land of Contrasts

rain 28 °C

Ok, so we were too cocky on feeling well, the infamous Delhi Belly has struck Ms Ptonka who was stuck room-bound for a full day (Rach was allowed small trips out around the local area alone to eat and prevent cabin fever setting in). Today she was well enough for a juice and yoghurt breakfast from our local place JoJos (we know we trust their food) then out and about we went.

Fortunately we were visiting the rich end of town with large tourist attractions that had toilets. This was indeed fortunate although the toilets were a little difficult to find in the Victoria Memorial and there were a few minutes where T was thinking there was going to be an accident in Vicky’s gardens. All was well in the end you’ll be pleased to know.

We didn’t make it over to Salt Lake City as planned, as it turns out the Metro doesn’t run Sunday daytime plus it pissed down all day so we decided not to venture too far; however we did still get the experience of the richer-side India. The Victoria Memorial is very grand, it has been often compared to the Taj Mahal; it is surrounded by large well-groomed gardens. To be honest it felt like we’d been to a National Trust house and gardens for the afternoon. Worth a visit though.

There was a very ‘Western’ feel to the whole area, lots of ice-cream stalls on the surrounding pavements (actually – there were pavements, this alone was noticeable), roads with more order and blue direction signs (still beeping though, of course), grand hotels and European style apartment blocks, even a very fancy looking patisserie. We had experienced different areas before such as the Millenium Gardens on The Strand by the river, where middle-class Kokatans go to escape the chaos of the inner city (a 5 Rps entrance fee ensures); but today the entire area we saw had a different feel.

The VM was followed by a trip to the Zoological Gardens, basically a zoo, it was only 20 Rps (20p) in so we had a look around. It was interesting to see how Indians do it but unfortunately it was like British zoos around 30 years ago. Many animals were in inappropriate spaces and it was filled with ice-cream and popcorn stands. We didn’t stay long.

To remind us we were in a city where poverty very much exists we passed by an overpass that had tens or perhaps hundreds of families living beneath in make-shift huts. Barefoot children running around in the mud and of course some beggars. Whereas these people didn’t give us a passing glance, we were of real interest to the middle-class Indians in the tourist places, who wanted to talk to us and have photos with us, or who just stared and giggled at us. It’s not surprising though since we do stand out, even we have started to spot westerners from across the street and WE stare at them!

Anyway it was a fairly pleasant day despite Tess having the ‘trots’ and the persistent rain. Rach even made friends with a young girl from Jaiselmer who shared our umbrella a while and now have an Indian number to call from our new India SIM (let us know if you want the number). We are unlikey to call Mahima of course (she is about 13) however we may text her when we visit Jaiselmer for some top tips.

Also today was the first day we had hot showers. We've always had access to hot water but have not wanted it as we've been so hot & sweaty. I think we must be acclimatising...

So, from Monday morning to Wednesday evening we will be on a trip to the Sundarbarnds (World Heritage Site, largest river delta and mangrove forest, where Royal Bengal Tigers live, amongst an array or other wildlife). So we will be enjoying nature, fresh air and peace and quiet (we are staying at an eco-lodge on a small island with no electricity). Should be maarvellous after these days in the very smokey big smoke!

So long,

Rach & Tess

Posted by TessAndRach 07:24 Archived in India

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Loving the blogs and photos. Googled Sundarbans - it looks amazing, cant wait for your update. Take care x

by Barbara Hodgson

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