Thursday, August 27, 2009

21st to 23rd August - Kolkata

We left Varanasi somewhat more spiritually awakened but becoming exceedingly broke because of the amazing silk products they had there.

My last day in Varanasi saw me take a rickshaw to the post office to relieve my burgeoning bags of more souveniers. While at the post office, the customs official complemented my handwriting. He told me that I had handwriting like newspaper print which was a little odd.

So I gave him a list I wrote of the stuff in the parcel I was sending back to Oz and he seemed genuinely enthused to receive it.

"I give this to my daughter so one day maybe she has handwriting like you." he said...

This other guy then pursuaded me to go with his brother to his silk factory... I did this and found myself walking around a series of rooms filled with looms and people making all sorts of silk based products. I bought a scarf and bid farewell...

We took the overnight train to Kolkata that night. 20 hours all in all and the journey was a lot more pleasant than previous trains. It went pretty smoothly.

When we arrived in Kolkata, I have to admit I was very impressed with the city. It was by far the nicest city we'd been to. Very clean and no cows on the road. It's apparently because it is a communist state of India and cows aren't allowed in the City. All in all it makes for a much cleaner environment.

From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


We relaxed that day and went out for dinner that night where we proceeded to sing every tacky karaoke song we could thing of. It was such a spontaneous act and we were all getting into it. I think 3 weeks being together coupled with the end of the trip really unleashed our singing. We got so into it the manager came over and asked us to keep it down because people had been complaining downstairs... Ha ha ha...

He didn't seem too impressed when I said: "No problem, please tell them we do requests...."

From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


It was a good night.

The next day I took a taxi to Victoria Memorial and Mother Teresa house. The memorial is very impressive and Mother Teresa house was a very powerful place. It was a good way to spend a few hours.

From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


From Kolkata


I don't know if it was the fact I visited Mother Teresa's coffin but I got a real urge to help people afterwards. I ended up buying 20 bananas and gave them to a poor family on the street. I felt a little selfish because it made me feel good to have done it. They seemed to be very happy and I hope I did the right thing.

Also, I was walking along the street and saw this guy climbing up the side of a building using just a rope... madness.

From Kolkata


From Kolkata


I left India that night leaving behind a country that has beauty and colour at its core but so many problems on the surface. I really enjoyed my time in India but I don't think I'd rush back. The busyness, the mess and the dirt coupled with the complete and obvious poverty were very unattractive qualities. I wish there was something I could do to help the kids that have no family and live on the street. I don't think I was alone in the group thinking that.

The airport was hellish but I got through it... Next stop Bangkok....

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