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January 6th 2010
Published: August 9th 2017
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Geo: 22.6473, 88.3104

After spending 5 weeks in South India i was looking forward to tackling the north. The flight from Chennai took 2 hours and the cab ride to Sudder street took almost 1.5hrs. so we checked into our accommodation where there was HOT water....OMG it had been almost one month without hot water, you didn't need hot water down south though, but it was great.
We didn't do much during the day, just hit up the internet and got some food, I bought my bus ticket to Durgapur where i was going to meet with Nishant for a couple of days. After walking around for a while we grabbed some dinner at a bar/restaurant where there was some kind of live karaoke happening, it was bloody loud.
The next day we planned to do the walking tour of Calcutta which was in the lonely planet, so after breakfast we set off. We walked through Park street and into the Maidan which is a massive section of park in Calcutta in which it seemed all kinds of sports where played there. There were horses that roamed the park. In the distance we saw the Victoria Memorial so we headed of course to check it out but didn't venture inside.
There is a huge of amount of buses that travel the streets almost out numbering cars and bikes, packed to the rafters with people hanging out of every possible place. So back on course we noticed a soccer pitch where it seemed there was going to be a match about to play, but with the absence of an opposing team it must have been training. We made our way riverside and took the ferry up and back in a quick trip across the Hooghly river with views of the Howrah bridge.
By the time we hopped of the ferry it was starting to get dark so we headed back where we rested after the long walk around.
It was the last night i was to be traveling with Carole, she was heading west to Varanasi and i was going north to Darjeeling. We grabbed some dinner at a restaurant with a live band, pumping random tunes from Aqua's "I'm a barbie girl" to Rod Steward.
The following day i was due to take the Volvo Air Conditioned bus to Durgapur about 2hrs north west of Calcutta. I was picked up by Nishant who lives in a housing estate which is occupied by employees of a steel works plant. The housing commission was built for the employees and had a cricket/soccer oval, now disused tennis court, empty swimming pool and a table tennis table. They also have a competition to see who has the best looking garden. At the back of Nishant's house there is a temple, it's all fine until you get woken up at 7am to bells and singing for 10 minutes. The night i had arrived there was some person speaking from a loud speaker near the bus stand and Nishant's wasn't too far away from there, but with the combination of the muffled loud speaker rant and the sound of car horns gave me the impression that i was at the finishing line of the Tour De France. Later that night we were joined for some dinner by one of Nishant's friends.
After waking to the bells of the temple i grabbed some sausages and eggs on toast for brekky....oh my what a bad breakfast that would turn out to be. But firstly, after breakfast Myself, Nishant and two of Nishant's friends we driven, by the housing commissions security guard, to a university called Santiniketan. From my understanding it was started by a guy called Gurueva Tagore who was talented in Music, Poerty, Writing and Teaching. He is a famous icon in India and was the writer of the Indian national anthem. Now passed away, he has a museum full of his life and accompanied with some buildings of where he and others lived.
Across the road to the other side is the University itself. It's not like any conventional university where you learn in class rooms, but instead you learn outdoors in designated area's, usually under a tree formed by a concrete perimeter. There was also a church that combined the religions of Greek, Hindu, Buddism, Catholic and one more, can't remember.
We latched on to a funny old man who was an English guide who was an ex student, he had some radical thinking's but insightful non the less.
So it was back to the van where i didn't feel to great so i decided to skip lunch, which is odd for me here in India, but i knew what had made me feel ill, and yes it was the sausages. I had contracted food poisoning,so i spent the course of the evening vomiting and sleeping, luckily it was during the evening and not through the night as i had managed to get some sleep. I woke up feeling a bit better but still pretty seedy. Nishant's parent's had arrived from a trip to England so it was great to meet them, they were such nice and loving people. Nishant and myself went for a little hit of tennis later on in the day, but it still didn't sit well with me so we went back home where i slept again and then got some diarrhea...haha. By now i hadn't really eaten anything for a day and a half but i still didn't feel like food. Nishant and his parent's were so helpful in getting me medicine, so once again i found myself sleeping most of the evening and into the night. I still woke up a bit woozy but much better thanks to the medicine. I had a bus to catch at 8am back to Calcutta, so i spent most of the trip trying to sleep.
When i got back to Calcutta i got some accommodation and rested for the better part of the day. I still didn't really eat anything except a couple of banana's. I ran a few errands once i felt up to it and did manage to get some dinner.
I had to wait around all day, till 10pm, for my train up to Siliguri (Darjeeling almost). It was a slow day that didn't involve much, after a hefty lie in, i grabbed some breakfast, made a call, took the metro to the golf course in which i had intended to maybe play but did not have the proper attire and was asked to leave...haha. So i went back to park street, half halfheartedly tried to located Park St Cemetery with no luck and then made my way to watch a few overs of a local cricket game in the Madian and now i am here, typing this blog and still with time to wait till my train.
the last 4 or 5 days has felt like suspended animation, so i lack photos and real progress.
So now i hit the mountain stage of my trip, i will spend some time in Darjeeling and Sikkim, throwing in some treks and then will be in Nepal by the end of the month.
I will be traveling Nepal with a Polish guy (Radek) for one month and by then i will have one week left till i get back. It seems like it's just around the corner but it also seems so far away, not that that's a bad thing.

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16th March 2010

India is a place which combined the religions of Greek, Hindu, Buddism, Catholic and one more. And Kolkata is the city of joy. I proud to be an Indian.

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