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Kolkata

Kolkata was a very nice city, very cosmopolitan and bustling. Nice metro, nice trams.

There's something strange going on in Calcutta, however. I stayed on Sudder Street, where most backpacker stay and because there are so many westerners there, that's where, as you might expect, tehre are lots of beggars and touts. I've travelled a lot in Asia and I've seen a fair amount of poverty but never before in my life have I seen westerners actually hanging out with the destitute street people. On sudder street, it is absolutely routine to see some fair haired european woman sitting in the street, surrounded by beggars, holding a child in her lap and having her hair combed by a different street person. I saw young couples, westerners, walking young street kids down the street, hand in hand. Now, there's nothing wrong with this, obviously, but it just struck me as very odd. I asked around and a Bengali told me people come to Calcutta and stay at some home founded by the Catholic woman who got famous in calcutta and as part of their duty they hang with the street people. My question is: Why Calcutta? Why not Vientiane? Why not Ahmedabad? I've never seen this behaviour anywhere else in my life. Is it a Catholic complex? And I speak, of course, as someone born into the Church. It was very very strange and not a little unsettling.
Very nice apartment houses. Much of the city reminded me of New York. Great book stores too.
Very nice apartment houses. Much of the city reminded me of New York. Great book stores too.
Could be on Upper Broadway
Could be on Upper Broadway
Well, there's a lot of garbage too.
Well, there's a lot of garbage too.
So nice.
So nice.
Victoria Wat. Few people know this, but fat old virgin converted to Buddhism and had this temple built before she died.
Victoria Wat. Few people know this, but fat old virgin converted to Buddhism and had this temple built before she died.
It cost 150 ruppees for foreigners to go inside. I paid 4 just to ander the gardens.
It cost 150 ruppees for foreigners to go inside. I paid 4 just to ander the gardens.
Downtown. The old colonial administraive district
Downtown. The old colonial administraive district
Again
Again
More
More
They have rickshaws without bicycles. They are about to be baned forever. I wouldn't ride on one.
They have rickshaws without bicycles. They are about to be baned forever. I wouldn't ride on one.
College Street Market
College Street Market
The Shawl Museum
The Shawl Museum
By Sudder Street
By Sudder Street
Sort of chlling. I have no idea who they are. Sort of made think of Virginai Woolf
Sort of chlling. I have no idea who they are. Sort of made think of Virginai Woolf
Bridge at the Botanic Gardens
Bridge at the Botanic Gardens
A wreck.
A wreck.
Botanic Gardens
Botanic Gardens
Sudder Street
Sudder Street