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Pretty Monkey, Dancey Monkey

Kolkata Travel Blog

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walking to Mother Theresa's

I spent most of Sunday with a case of diarrhea but wanted to get over to Mother Theresa’s orphanage for visitor’s day at 3:30 when Katie’s shift started. It’s about a 20 minute walk from our neighborhood and involves walking through a Muslim section down a street about a half mile long and at points only 15 feet wide, that is without a doubt the poorest place I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s so shocking it has to be seen to be believed.  If you've ever seen Gangs of New York.....well, this is worse.

We left the orphanage around 4:00 and walked back through the Muslim section.  Christine told me that this was the worst time of day. It’s the hottest and most crowded and it’s when the animals are butchered. Stall after stall, halves and quarters of cows are being butchered in the hot sun, the next-in-line cow obliviously munching on gargage as it waits its turn.

Men handling livers, hearts, cows heads and every other animal part in the most unsanitary conditions imaginable. Bicycles with dozens of dead chickens slung over the handle bars and back wheel, saddlebag style, zip past us. Now the smell of blood is mixed with all the other smells we’ve endured and we can‘t seem to get past this area soon enough. This isn’t just bad compared to western standards, it’s bad compared to human standards.

As we neared the end of this area a man with two little monkeys quickly walked up behind us saying, Pretty monkeys, dancey monkeys, you want see dancing monkeys? He followed us for a good hundred feet as we glanced down at two skinny little monkeys, dressed in little outfits ready to dance for us if only we’d pay their master some money. After what we’d just seen this seemed like comic relief. At least they'll be safer than their animal friends up the street. 

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walking to Mother Theresas
walking to Mother Theresa's
entering the Muslim section.  This…
entering the Muslim section. Thi…
playground at Mother Theresas
playground at Mother Theresa's
magic show for the orphans
magic show for the orphans
Katie and her charge
Katie and her charge
Kolkata
photo by: sky69