Send in the clowns....
Trip Start Sep 09, 2007
33Trip End Ongoing
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The whirlwind tour of India continues! We left Sri Lanka soaked through as the pouring rain continued. Before flying back to India we managed to spark a mini security alert - we arrived nice and early for our 2am flight (us, early... unbelievable I know but we promise it's true!) and so decided to get a couple of hours' kip on the floor of the airport. With our past history of missing flights in mind, we'd set our little travel alarm to wake us up in time for boarding. Unfortunately we were both so fast asleep that its beeping didn't wake us up at first... but it did serve to alarm the cleaner nearby who called first the police and then military security to investigate which bag the beeping was coming from. We woke up, bleary-eyed to a sea of gawping faces all in uniform (and heavily armed!) laughing at our little alarm clock!
We boarded the plane OK and we were mighty pleased to find it almost completely empty = more sleep for us! The 'seatbelt on' sign obviously isn't as strict in India/Sri Lanka as it is back home, as Charlie was allowed to lay across three chairs sound asleep as the plane landed!
We arrived back in India and spent a few more days in Chennai (or 'Mutant Town' as we now call it - seriously, the amount of people with extra fingers or toes is amazing. They must do a roaring trade on rings and nail polish!). One day we took a trip to one of the big shopping centres near to us and they were running a painting promotion where people were invited to come up and paint whatever they liked.
After a few days in Mutant Town we booked a flight up to Calcutta and have been here for the past 5/6 days. When we first arrived we decided to use our first cycle-rickshaw...
We were staying in the North of Calcutta in a place called Dum Dum (just to add to the clown theme!) which was nice as it was busy without being too crazy. We took a couple of trips up into the city and it's bedlam - stupid amounts of people, animals and all forms of transport from human rickshaws
On one of our trips into the city we did find a pretty cool bar though - retro dance/house music, board games and funky décor tempted us in and we sat and drank Honeybee brandy and cocktails in the middle of a shopping centre at 3 in the afternoon as our plans to explore the city were put on hold!
Finding a taxi home was also an experience as one guy approached us and we started negotiating a price before we realized he was crushing up weed in his hand to roll himself a fat one as he drove. We decided to go with his mate instead!
The highlight of our stay in Calcutta had to be the Puja which was being held to celebrate the goddess Durga. Everywhere bright lights and colourful displays filled the streets and at night the sound of fireworks and music was all you could hear for miles around. One community club we walked past invited us into their temple and asked us to join them on their procession. They were so super happy when we agreed, and they told us that, in the 54 years they had been running the Durga procession we were the first foreigners to join them (hence why everybody spent the whole night grabbing us and wanting to dance with us!).
Our last night in Calcutta we went out for a 'rice and mice' dinner - a cracking curry was had as mice and rats scurried around our feet! Charlie was freaking out and sat cross-legged on her chair the whole time but to her credit stayed for the whole meal - Fiona, you'd have loved this place!!
So tonight we leave Calcutta and head for Varanasi. I'm afraid we can't upload any photos to go with this entry just yet (the internet here is very limited - even Mother Theresa herself wouldn't have the patience to wait for some of these PCs to load up!) but we will try to add these soon.