City of Joy!

We arrived in Kolkata… the final stretch of our trip! Delhi was wonderful – we really enjoyed the break that it was… sightseeing, shopping (we stayed in the best market in all of Delhi – bargains were to be had only footsteps away!), and our guardian angel of Delhi (they happen all along the way, we’ve noticed), Steve (the British Bloke).

Flying into Kolkata, our taxi looked like it came from the set of a Roger Rabbit movie, only covered in stickers of Hindi Gods and Mother Theresa, and adorned with Hibiscus flowers. We found our way to the YWCA and met Vishal – a friend of Luke’s who studied in San Luis Obispo for a quarter (we take all connections – need not apply). He took us to a great place for lunch, where we asked him to explain Diwali to us, which is on November 9th. It’s a huge national holiday. The mythology behind it (lets hope I get this right) is that the son of the king was sent away by his stepmother, who was cruel. Diwali celebrates his returning – everyone hangs lights and puts out candles to make areas well lit so that he can see his way home. The marketing around the country implies that its similar to Christmas… plus what was once a Hindi holiday is now celebrated by the masses…

Walking last night we had some street kids ask for food so we bought them chicken rolls… later we walked past them again and the youngest was wrapped up in a sheet sleeping on a piece of cardboard next to his mom… the other ran and greeted us with his friends… “Hi Aunty! Aunty, hi! Paani?” There are so many street kids that I find myself forgetting how human they are… it’s overwhelming when they come in the masses.

Our second day in Kolkata we met up with Vishal again and set out to explore on foot. We saw the Queen’s Memorial – a palace which they supposedly tried to make after the Taj Mahal… on our way to a hooka bar we stopped to buy a girl a couple of apples. I’m learning to give food when they ask – food isn’t bad for anyone. Money is definitely not helpful – it only gets taken by their pimps, who you can usually spot standing around with one eye on the kid and one on you.

We got home that night to our room covered in bugs… a window had been left open and the light right outside our window had attracted them… they were everywhere! A thin layer on the bed, all over the floor, in and out of the toilet, covering the ceiling, not to mention the ones that hadn’t yet found a home and were still swirling in the air… ending up in my eyes, nose, ears and mouth. I called the manager, who seemed just as boggled as me… we changed rooms, and had quite a moment running around with books, hitting those that had hitchhiked over to the new room…

Alas, we are in Kolkatta. 🙂 I love it.