Tag Archives: taxi
May 31, 2009

The new ritual, the 6am dog walk

Kolkata is a different creature early in the morning. The streets are quiet, the streets are clean and swept, they almost smell clean! And for some weird reason there are no parked cars anywhere, except the odd taxi with the driver asleep in it.

So at 6am we go for a walk now to beat the heat and the noise and hussle and bussle of the morning city life. The adventure starts with getting out of the guest house. The houseman Salim, sleeps on the floor of the living room at night, the poor guy works almost 24/7 slaving away for his guests, and last night he was serving a new checkin dinner at 12am! So we have to slip past him, and get the spare key to let ourselves out.

This is Salim slaving away in his hot, unairconditioned kitchen:

[singlepic id=68 w=320 h=240 float=center]

In the foyer of the building and of the area on the 9th floor in front of the elevator they have the most strangest looking fire extinguishers!

[singlepic id=104 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

God only knows how you work the thing!

So we get the elevator by ourselves, which is nice as the elevator men don’t like dogs, one of them rants and raves in Bengali until he finally gets out and lets us use his mighty elevator by ourselves… its automatic but still its dangerous without a operator in it apparently!

[singlepic id=107 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

Moe waiting for the elevator

The streets are relatively quiet, this is Middleton Street:

[singlepic id=108 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

[singlepic id=112 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

The street is nice at this time of day, the guards of the buildings come out to look and stare, one of them already knows Moe’s name and calls him over. One guy surprises me and asks in perfect queens english if Moe is a American Cocker Spaniel! I of course say yes, but they normally are a bit skinnier!

This is Vardaan market , by day and night there are food hawkers outside it, selling everything, and inside its a airconditioned market mainly with clothing in it, and supringsly a store 6ft square that sells pet food and supplies.

[singlepic id=113 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

The street we are in is a mish mash of old and new, at one end of the street is a old decripit mansion . People still live in it, although I dont think the wiring or plumbing is really up to code!

[singlepic id=106 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

You see some strange things, like this , your morning coconut delivery boy!

[singlepic id=114 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

Newspapers arent sold here during the day it seems, on sunday there are boys selling them on the street but I dont see them during the week. During the weekdays they are delivered by people on bikes, and it seems they do only 2 buildings each as its funny to watch the team of them ride down the street and slowly peel off one to a building.

[singlepic id=111 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

There are some shop open at this time, like if you want breakfast, you come here to Indias version of a drive in Restuarant, that literally is a hole in the wall!

[singlepic id=105 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

But first watch out for the cables that may strangle you or electrocute you !

[singlepic id=102 w=400 h=300 mode=watermark float=center]

It really is just like the email that floats around with pics of the wires in the streets here in India that states ‘ and we wonder how they operate the call centers of the world. ‘

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.

[singlepic id=58 w=320 h=240 float=center]

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.

[singlepic id=42 w=320 h=240 float=center]

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.

[singlepic id=30 w=320 h=240 float=center]

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.

May 21, 2009

May 19 – are we really here?

So once again we got very little sleep, Chris did a bit better than me. Our bodies have no idea what the time is plus you have to get used to the bed as it is the usual Asian one and the mattress is only an inch thick, but it was nice to actually lie down.

The shower was exciting this morning, no hot water, so that helped wake us up.

The gentleman who looks after the guest house got us tea and asked if we wanted some breakfast, the description wasnt great, vegetables where mentioned, so we declined and had some fruit.

dining area of the guest house The 'guest house' living room

Chris then went off to his new office to do paperwork and organise his interview in Delhi on Friday with the DGCA., and whatever else they needed him to do.

Continue reading “May 19 – are we really here?” »