Kolkata Travel Blog› entry 20 of 32 › view all entries
I made it to Kolkata in one piece. The family I'm staying with has a gorgeous, huge house and they gave me a very large room with a private bathroom.
The train was rather interesting. As I was wasting time I looked up the train again and noticed the time for my train was listed 1 1/2 hours earlier than my ticket. So I suddenly booked it out of there and rushed to the train station with less than ten minutes to spare. Then I found out the internet was wrong, my ticket had the correct time. So I spent a few hours in the upper class waiting room until the train showed up. I was very proud of myself because I was able to find my berth on my own without help.
But after I arrived I grabbed a pre-paid taxi for Rudradeb's house. The taxi driver could not find the place and wanted to drop me off in the middle of nowhere not even on the right street. I demanded he keep driving until we find it. Then I was the one who found it, he drove right by. It was a fairly obvious place too. Oh well, I'm here now and was able to shower and have a traditional Indian breakfast.
After much discussion from the family, they decided I should take the public bus to Victoria Memorial as it's cheapest and fastest. The public buses drive insanely while packed standing room only with the door wide open.
When I arrived, I first went across the street to St. Paul's church. Unfortunately I couldn't take photos inside there (or at Victoria Memorial), but it was very nice. It is around 85 degrees and humid today and I'm just dying in the heat. And this is their winter! I went over to the East Gate of VM but was told I had to go to the north gate. It's a large property as it is surrounded by very nice gardens and a large reflecting pool and I was sweating like crazy. I already have a slight sunburn from when I was in Gangtok, so I was trying to avoid making it worse.
Across the street is the Maidan, Kolkata's answer to Central Park. Since Sunday is a holiday here, the place was jam-packed with cricket players. I counted over thirty matches going on simultaneously in just the part of the park I was in. I took a very short pony ride to the other side (mostly as a very cheap way to get out of the heat faster and over to the shady side of the park). I enjoyed a cool ice cream drumstick from one of the street vendors who gave me bad directions to the Indian Museum.
I finally got to the Indian Museum which is absolutely beautiful. It's this large white marble building in a rectangular shape built around a very large garden and fountain. Some of the exhibits were very interesting- they had an Egyptian wing, a section showing the many different tribes and cultures of India, and some Bengali paintings. There were several wings of fossils. Now I've heard of dusty museums before, but the fossil wings were just walls upon walls of glass cabinets holding assorted bones from various animals and I could barely breathe there was so much dust in the air.
I then walked out in a desperate search for an air-conditioned restaurant. I stumbled upon Moulin Rouge which looked closed but thankfully was open. When I walked in the owner quickly put on some music- Barbie Girl. I think India is where one-hit wonders go to die. This particular song I really hate as I remember Shannon going through a phase where she played it repeatedly for hours on end and sang along very off-key. (By the way have I said lately how much I miss my lovely sister? Hi Shanny!) I asked for the coldest drink they had and they brought me something like a pineapple drink with ice cream.
Next I'm on my way to search for a local cemetary and the home of Mother Theresa. The family told me to take the metro back this afternoon (it doesn't run on Sunday mornings) so hopefully I'll figure that out!