Around Kolkata Part Two


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Asia » India » West Bengal » Kolkata
February 5th 2010
Published: March 21st 2010
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5/2/10: We got ourselves out and about by 10:00 and needed to get our mobile phone sorted after a message we had received from Vodaphone indicating we hadn’t finished some documentation. On the way we crossed a herd of goats just walking through the streets and it was the strangest thing to see in the middle of the city and we both had a good laugh and carried on. We walked back down Park St onto Chowringhee Rd walking north. There were market stalls located all on this road and sell most things like bags, sunglasses, cosmetic products etc. We were trying to find some sleeping bags for our trip as it was going to get cold in Varenasi. We found a large market place contained under one roof and as soon as we got close a young Indian man latched onto us like a leech and it didn't matter what we said or how much we ignored him he just didn’t go away. We walked trough a massive spice area and the smell was incredible. We then walked into the butchered meat section and the smell here was also incredible and unbearable. We understand why you don't eat meat in India especially from the markets as there were crows flying everywhere within the building, they would swoop down on the meat and pick off bits of tasty goat or chicken. This wasn’t as bad as the pigeons that were lined up above that easily shit on the freshly piled meat below. Our new found leach wanted to take us to a handy craft emporium and with us not having any luck finding sleeping bags thought that we might have to do a favour to receive a favour so we went to have a look at the stupid shop. The store was full useless stuff like most stalls and shops and it was hilarious to see other travellers that had got roped into going to the store as well. With that out of the way he showed us a shop that had sleeping bags that were very basic and were defiantly not travel friendly. So we had to get out of there so quick as every single store owner wanted us to see inside their store and they didn’t take no for an answer. It got that bad that we had a crowd of Indians around us getting pushier until we just barged our way through the lot of them and made a bee line for the entrance outside. When we got out it felt like freedom until I saw a young blonde lady getting hassled by four Indian men trying to sell her stuff she didn’t want. I rushed over to see if she was alright and she was thankful for the help but I think she was used to the hassling and just brushed it off. We wanted to go to the Hoogly River to see the ghat’s and the banks of the river. We got to a massive intersection on the Cnr of Chowenghee and Rasmoni Ave and just sat and watched as the people got on and off the bus crossed roads and dodged cars. I know it sounds funny but it’s not uncommon for you to just sit and watch how this crazy town works. We finally crossed the road and bought some fruit and we got a prathra egg and spice roll again, I’m not sure exactly what they’re called but will find out soon enough. We were hesitant on getting one but he cooked everything with cooking utensil right up until the very last minute when he used his hands to spread out the cooked cabbage and onion mix and spread the chilli and spice sauce out with his fingers, and just before he handed me the finished germ bomb some filling fell out on the table and he proceeded to scoop it up smearing half of it across the table and went to put it back in my roll, I yelled “NO NO NO NO!” He got the message pretty quick and swiped it of the table onto the ground behind him. It was piping hot but I had that feeling that if I ate this I was going to pay for it later. We carried on westward until finally caught sight of the river, we crossed the train line and jumped up on the concrete wall to get a better view. The river was filthy dirty and there were people swimming and washing just off the ghats. On the wall and immediately below us was human shit everywhere and it was disgusting, the smell was quiet bad and it was hard to believe that people could actually walk down to take a dump without actually stepping on someone else’s in the process. You could tell that there were no pigs in India (reminiscent of Hmong Village) Haha. We walked back south to follow the river and Fort William that wasn’t open to the public until we walked under the Vidyasagar Setu Bridge overpass. We had a small scale map that enable us to take the wrong road and sent us further south than what we wanted to walk. We ended up finding ourselves onto of an overpass slowly sloping back down to the road were we could do a u-turn back onto the correct road. I peered over the 4m high edge and caught site of allot of homeless people that lived under the overpass, there were ladies sitting down and as soon as they saw me poking my head over they immediately put their hand out for money and gave hand gestures for food. We had to walk back past this and didn’t want to get hassled by a dozens homeless plus children. We decided to take the long way round away from the hassle. We had walked a distance of 10-12km so far and were both getting tired. The plan ended up backfiring as we had to walk past another overpass where there were more homeless people. We crossed to the other side of the road to avoid conflict but once the children saw us it was way too late. They all rushed over telling us to give them money, once we refused they tried to grab us and I said don't “touch me!” in a stern voice. They started to get quiet physical and I yelled “Don’t touch me!” I walked as fast as I could to get out of the situation and kept checking to make sure that Jacinta was handling her dozen children right behind me. I heard her screaming stop it and don’t touch me as rocks started to get thrown at us. Jacinta later said that a mother just laughed and let the whole thing happen, they are usually just as bad as the children. They ended up hassling some Indians walking past as well and we were both sick of the way they expected you to just give them whatever they wanted. They had no respect for others and didn’t care, It’s sad they are homeless but when they start treating people like this you become very intolerant of their behaviour. We meet a nice travelling couple that night that had also had rocks thrown at them and she actually got hit in the head. On a separate occasion they had also offered $10rs to some children but wanted $20rs instead, also offering food to children to only be told they didn’t like it and wanted them to buy something else. We had also had children wanting us to take photos of them only to be asked for money afterwards. I also offered money to a so called crippled skinny old man that looked to be placed diagonal on an old matt by someone for the day, he lied on his stomach with one arm stub frantically waving in the air and constantly murmuring something in Hindi. He seriously looked terrible and it appeared he didn’t have any arms. When we walk past that afternoon he was seated upright with a lap full of coins counting with the one hand that had miracle sly reappeared. I was amazed that he could lie on his arm the whole day and put on an amazing performance. Maybe for that he deserved the money but I felt slightly cheated that the money could have gone to the next guy that had no legs and arms making it impossible for him to work. Well that's my little spit for the day and I’m sure there will be more.

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