Saturday, November 17, 2012

Oh Calcutta

What a wonderful city. It reminds me a little of Bombay with its British Raj legacy, but has its own character, system and soul. The city of Kali, and a recent festival and puja in her name, everywhere I turn I see my tattoo!

What I really love about this city is the transport, efficient metro and particularly the shared fixed price autos, and despite not using its trams and human pulled rickshaws, these too add to the flavour. I am part horrified, part intrigued by the human rickshaws, though I would never make some poor, and predominately what looks like old men, pull me down the streets of this town. Last night I saw a person being pulled along, with their goods on top as well, a washing machine no less - now that is a abuse of human rights if ever I saw one. Fine to have yourself carted around town, it's another thing to do that.

The people too seem very charming (maybe not the washing machine man), perhaps more refined, and seemingly more educated than their counterparts in other large Indian cities. Everyone is eager to point you in the right direction, help with directions or say hello. As for the sights, we have done few instead just walking around the city to get a feel. We did visit the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, the second oldest club in the world, right after St. Andrew's in Scotland, the home of golf. It was very old world Raj, and the course looked lovely, a real oasis in the burbs of this city.

We had thoughts of visiting the Black Hole, though this dungeon is now below the GPO, and the memorial in a church in town. Our kooky hotel, the Fairlawn, kind of makes up for it as stepping into our room is like stepping into a black hole, well at least til we find the lights. Once lit we are graced with an expanse with a huge picture of HRH Betty Windsor on the wall, and a smaller one of a maharaja, just to remind you of where you really are, as this hotel, a leftover from the Raj but on LSD is adorned in pictures of the Royal family and kitch paraphernalia, some common rooms like scaled down version of a Buckingham palace royal room. One amusing aspect is that not only is breakfast included as part of the daily rate, but afternoon tea too!

Well today is our last day in India, as we are bound for KL this afternoon, and home late tomorrow evening. As always it seems we have been away much longer, which always happens in India as it is a sensory overload at the best of times with so much to do, see and experience. And as always I have learnt much about myself, and am leaving with as much love for this country, and a desire to return again my previous six visits. Thanks beautiful India.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Calcutta India

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