Saturday, 6 July 2013

Walking-Sweat Machines in Kolkata

On arriving in Kolkata we spent a surprisingly long time in the afternoon heat trying to find a hotel that was at least reasonable in both condition and price. This turned out to be quite the challenge but we finally settled on a room that was amazingly sparse for its size but did have AC and a somewhat clean bed. In the end, we were so tired from lugging our backpacks in the heat that we settled for something so that we could just drop our bags and take a cold shower. 

It was nearing evening by the time we had showered, settled in and done some hand washing, so we relaxed by wandering the downtown area. We found a massive market area and explored it for some time before finding a moderately priced restaurant for a well-earned meal. We were fairly worn out as it had been a long overnight train ride that hadn’t been particularly restful followed by too long an afternoon lugging around our backpacks so we heading back in not long after dark to try and have a restful evening.

The beautiful Victoria Memorial
Despite being super tired, the noisy road works outside our window kept us awake – a painful combination of jack-hammering, strobe lights and loud Indian conversations. Despite the lack of sleep we decided to get up early anyway so that we could sightsee before the heat got too much, because if the previous day had been any indication it really got hot and muggy by the afternoon. Our first stop for the day was the impressive Victoria Memorial located in peaceful, manicured grounds which we strolled around for a while, enjoying the quiet of the place. We were unfortunately too for it to be open and we didn’t want to waste time hanging around till it did. We’d run out of water already anyway as it was already a hot day so we decided to move onto the next place we wanted to see.

We exited by the East gate so that we could visit St Paul’s Cathedral and we rested inside the cool interior enjoying the peace and quiet before going back out to the heat. We had planned to head back to our hotel area for lunch as there were many good places nearby and we had decided that we really needed to try to eat three decent meals a day as we were both not feeling great. However half an hour into our walk back we discovered that we must’ve done a 180 somehow and we were in fact walking in completely the wrong direction. There was nothing much around wherever it was that we’d walked to and we were too tired to retrace our steps so we caught a taxi to the New Market area. We finally had our late lunch before retreating from the heat to our hotel room to spend the afternoon planning our Vietnam trip. 

Once the heat had cooled somewhat and we had booked a few preliminary things for Vietnam we went out for dinner, but we returned early to get ourselves packed as we had an early trip to the airport the following morning. Unfortunately the night road works were back, but this time instead of hammering they were re-laying the tar. This meant that when we turned the AC on the toxic fumes were sucked in, they were so bad we started to get dizzy, so there was no AC all night for us, making for an uncomfortable night. We were looking forward to heading to Thailand the next day!

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