Arriving in Calcutta
Kolkata Travel Blog› entry 14 of 41 › view all entries
One taxi driver wanted 80 Rupees for the ride from the airport to Sudder Street but we knew better and bartered another for thirty. It was a long drive into Calcutta and the taxi's horn blew in a continuous frenzy. Crowded roads and streets were filled with awe and wonder; human-powered carts piled high with burlap sacks of cargo, cattle foraging garbage from the street-side gutters, a man with six fingers, and goats being gutted and skinned while hanging from trees along major thoroughfares. Cows were sacred animals in India and roamed at will, dozing at busy intersections as we eased around them. Our driver never honked at a cow. Graffiti in both Hindu and English marred walls and buildings; "Education is a Right, not a Privilege!" read one.
Bugs were bad everywhere, and with Malaria in the country, Chris and I stopped at a local pharmacy to buy a tube of Odomos Mosquito Repellent. Around the corner, we were thrilled to find a snake charmer. We patiently waited until the crowd grew large enough for the man to reach into a basket and toss a small cobra onto the sidewalk. The crowd shifted back. When he pulled out a seven-foot-long cobra, which instantly coiled and flared its hood, the crowd gasped. As the man played, waving his flute, the snakes followed; swaying their heads in an exotic, hooded, deadly dance. When the large cobra became distracted by the shiny reflection of my camera lens, I gasped and shifted back!