Tag Archives: rupees
June 8, 2009

Monday in the City of Joy

Guess what? Its hot! Believe it or not we are having another hot day in Kolkata.  Its on 51C/124F.

But its never hot enough for the beggars to stop doing their job, here is one at work in the traffic…. I swear these people make more than a lawyer here!

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We went to the mall yesterday, to check some of them and that was exciting. We were slack this time, or rather Chris was slack as he didnt order one of the nice airconditioned cabs, instead we went out to the street and hailed a yellow cab… ie a 1950’s Austin Ambassador . The cab we got going to the mall, which is a good 30 minute drive away …. was a little in need of a clean. The seats in these things surprisingly have cloth seat covers, now think of 50 people a day sitting , rather sweating on that seat cover…you can imagine the rest. Vacuum cleaners are still a new thing here, even at the gas/petrol stations they dont have those self serve car vacuums, so you can guess what the floor of these cabs look like.

The driver excelled in his skills, he managed to only use the clutch when we started off from a standstill, but they still refuse to use first gear for some reason, so the starts aren’t that smooth. And this fine gem of a Austin had brakes once… every time he stomped on the floor to brake this hideous squealing metal on metal sound emanated from the wheels and we would grind to a stop always in the nick of time.

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A might Amby cab outside Silver Springs, a mall and apartment complex here in Kolkata

But 30 minutes later and for 80 rupees ($1.60) we arrived.

We still havent figured out why the fares are so low as diesel and petrol here costs a lot, about $4 per gallon, or $1 per litre..

The mall was full of the normal strange sites, from a couple sitting in the food court watching a Fred Astaire movie on their laptop, to the little men in Spencer’s food store who run around with electrified tennis rackets killing flies, imagine putting this on your resume!  This is something to see, they almost seemed possesed, and run around after each and every fly until it is zapped to a quick and sudden death. Mind you they never actually clean up these dead flies that litter the store, so really whats the point.

Here are some of the sites on the way:

The trams, most of them are gone now, but there are still some around town…they are really old

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I just know they could have put some more bags on their truck if they had of tried…

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Anyone for some roadsite chow? Yep looks like a enticing place to eat doesnt it!

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Rickshaw drivers having some time out…

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It looks like this scene is from 1950, but no its 2009!

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May 25, 2009

May 23 – We found the west…a mall

Chris got back at 9am. We were sitting having breakfast together when this arsehole of a man (the other pilot) had the audacity to reel Chris out in front of me, I was so angry I almost got up and hit him, but I knew that would just make it all worse, this guy is a total bully. So Chris was completely shocked and didnt defend himself as it was totally unexpected and he had been up since 4am to get back to Kolkata. So this idiot leaves and we talk about what we should do. I am prepared to go back to Florida, but we really want to make this work, there is nothing to go back to.

Chris goes into the office to talk to him or shout, whichever works, and he is a total wimp backs down and they seem to sort it out. I still have a bad feeling, wont know anything until Monday.

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Got our washing back all nice and clean and well pressed, there were 17 pieces, shirts and pants you dont give them your underwear you have to do that yourself, and it cost 270 rupees, $US5.40.

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When he comes back to the Guest house we organise an airconditioned taxi and are going to go and see the dogs and then go to a Mall. We found a pet food store and have gotten the dogs some kibble, they need something more than rice for their teeth. So we stop on the way and drop it off, they are still doing very well.

The Mall. We could be anywhere in the world, they are really all the same, just the stores are a little bit different. This one has all the regular Asian stuff, Benetton, Nike, Reebok, plus we laughed at a tiny little Marks & Spencer. They seem to love their shoes here as there were a lot of shoe stores and the menswear stores out number the ladies 2 to 1.

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There was a store on the bottom floor called Spencer, which sold electricals and grocery items, this was very exciting. Dont get me wrong I love curry, but I also like the idea of being able to cook some pasta or have some sausages for breakfast. We also found an Australian shop called the Cookie Man, good biscuits and they were very cheap.

We had some lunch at the food court, interesting. You dont pay the individual vendor for the food, you pay for a card at a central location and then put credit on it which you then use at the food outlets. There were lots of choices, Chinese, Thai, Italian, local, and cakes, the Indians love anything sweet. Most of them are made without egg as the vegetarians dont eat eggs so it caters to everyone.

On one of our escaltor trips we were handed two children, I got one and Chris got one. We have discovered that the Indians are shit scared of escaltors, and they would hand over their children in the hopes that we would get them down safely.

We tried to get an airconditioned taxi back to the Guest house but it would be a four hour wait, so we decided to risk it and get a yellow one. They are hot and also we have had a language barrier problem, they dont know where we want to go. This time we got lucky, the guy running the taxi rank knew where we wanted to go and the taxi driver got us straight here. It is so cheap, we probably went about 6kms, and it was $US2, crazy cheap.

We went for a walk up to Park Street for dinner, this is one of the happening places in Kolkata. Saturday night everyone seemed to be out. There are a lot of beggars on the streets at night, and you get people selling stuff, one guy really wanted to sell Chris a joint. Its interesting being out at night, you feel reasonably safe, just like anywhere you have to be careful and not flash money around, and be aware of what is happening around you.