Kolkata, India–the city made popular by the late Saint Theresa was my second layover destination. I was so excited when I checked the picture of the hotel that we would be staying. It looked so mighty grand and posh with a large pool that I already imagined of swimming in with new bikinis. When we got there, the whole crew were impressed indeed. Especially with the bathroom that was as big as the entire room in my hotel accomodation in Dusseldorf. But once you get outside, the picture was shocking. How could a hotel as posh as Hotel Regency Kolkata exist in a disturbingly poor community? People lived like rats in the slums surrounding the hotel. There were garbage everywhere. The place smelled like toilets. People spit everywhere. Not to mention the ubiquitous crows that reminded me of something like death, mourning, or unbearable depression.
But of course, I could not let the third world reality to ruin my stay. I explored the city by myself (since nobody showed up at the lobby on the supposed time of meeting). Going out and about alone in foreign city would never scare. It would even add to the adventure. =)
By the time I went to Victoria Memorial Building, a local who spoke fluent english volunteered to show me around the city. I attempted more than five times to tell him that I prefer to go around on my own but he was being persistent. He kept on walking beside me even after I walked for 20 minutes. He further insisted that we take a cab since Mother Theresa’s house was far away. It was risky of me to join him in the cab, but since the cabs in Kolkata had windows open, I jumped in. I could always scream whenever I would be in trouble, I thought. =) Throughout the whole ride he was sitting as close as he could get next to me and was trying to touch my bare legs. It was not exactly part of the adventure that I was looking for. But lucky enough, I was able to return to the hotel in one piece. Hehehehe.
the Hyatt Regency
the reception desk
lovely souvenirs at the hotel botique
I always judge the hotel by the niceness of its toilet.
my stupid toilet pictures. hihihi. i took these by myself. believe me, I have really long arms.
Indian sunset and the ubiquitous crows outside my window
a crow having a drink outside the hotel gates
an Indian mother and child in a very cute outfit! =)
this is part of the hotel gates–with vandals and barb wires!!!
a local woman on a bike
this is fronting the hotel
slums very nearby
He was so thrilled when I took his/her picture.
a goat scavenging in the garbage dump/toilet
they found a home in the sidewalk
the rickshaw. they also have the hand rickshaw in which case the driver mounts the whole load on his shoulders and carries the whole thing on foot.
i am back to the hotel, at last.
back to my comfort zone…
my lovely bathroom…
…and my tea and coffee. =)
Please don’t judge me because I felt relieved.
dinner with friends (Japanese and Lebanese)
that’s an 80-year old lobster right there
the chefs at work
on my own now
the highest-end mall in Kolkata, the City Centre Mall
time to go.
he was such a nice driver he gave me peanuts and cadies.
P.S. Whatever the meter reads, you always have to pay twice of it. The driver is not trying dope you. It is just the way it is.
the messy lines for trains
a local woman in a traditional costume
the Victoria Memorial Building
Entrance fee if one wants to go inside the building is only 140 rupees. but personally, there is really nothing to see inside. it is preferable to take the garden entrance ticket for only 30 rupees.
chatting up with a local woman
a number of couples getting very intimate right out in the open
friends at the lover’s park. hmm…i don’t wanna comment. =)
an eye-catcher garbage bin
my indian outfit straight from the store
this gorgeous lady bug too!
horse-carriage ride for only 90 rupees
horseback riding for 50 rupees. my first time. i was scared to death trying to stay on top of the horse while a group of young men playing frisbees were shouting at me, asking a lot of questions, and welcoming me to India.
Indian street food
goats grazing by the plaza??? weird. =)
Saint Peter’s Church. It was closed so I could only take picture from the outside.
school children. they were all staring at me as if I was an alien or a celebrity or something. It was either my skin color or that I simply look funny.
a man washing his hair at the canal
Indian police car
Dubai police ride in BMWs.
Off to the market for some tattoo.
my tour guide’s ass
A Hindu temple that was also closed to visitors.
a group of kids waving and smiling at me
and I thought I would never experience traffic jam that is worse than in Manila.
The tomb of Mother Theresa
I was humbled by the simplicity of her grave.
An extra friendly kid outside the orphanage who successfully coaxed me into by buying him the largest can of milk from a nearby store, which I am pretty sure, they would resell to the store owner at a much lower price. He asked me to buy for some more food. Unfortunately for him, I am always wiser the second time around.
the back of Mother Theresa’s house
Mother Theresa souvenirs
the train used the same road with the cars, bikes, buses, and horses.
Emirates Airline ad. =)
My ride back to the hotel. He’s absolutely one tired driver.