I’ve arrived! Nothing’s gone according to plan, but I’m here, safe and sound. I’m writing from an internet cafe a block or so away from the guesthouse where we’re staying. I had plenty of time to write on the flight, so I came up with two good posts, but then when I got here, the man in charge of the cafe told me that USB drives aren’t allowed. So I’ve got no way to get the posts online, as of right now. I was supposed to have internet access on my phone, but something’s gone wrong with that.
Summary–We made it. Well, 3 of us did. Our professor and another girl missed their flights, so they should be arriving sometime today. India is everything you imagine it to be, times 20. Arriving in Kolkata and driving through the city at midnight was an absolute assault on the senses. We were talking about how stereotypes about countries usually aren’t true, like you don’t see people in stripey shirts and berets walking through Paris, but in India, everything you’ve heard stands. I can hear Indian music (Hindi pop maybe?) from the bedroom and from the shower. Kolkata has a soundtrack–literally.
Driving through the city last night was like a game of look and find. I spy…a naked woman, a slum, a rickshaw being pedaled by a man on a bike, a statue of Ganesh, Christmas lights, stray dogs, Kolkata police terminals, an ambulance stuck in traffic, a man carrying a sack of potatoes on his head, a cavalcade of brightly-colored school buses.. Music is playing all the time, and it’s also about a billion degrees.
The guesthouse is nice. We’ve got a room with 4 beds and a private bathroom (toilet + shower). I spent forever putting up my mosquito net last night, but it looks pretty good and keeps the bugs out. I always wanted a canopy bed when I was little…I just didn’t realize I’d have to go to India to get one! Showers are room-temperature water, but it felt amazing this morning.
There are other girls staying at the house too–a group of Irish girls and a group of English girls. One of the Irish girls took me, Cynthia, and Liz to this internet cafe. She’s showing us around a bit today. It’s only a block’s walk over here. We bought 2L bottles of water and strolled down. On the way, we saw a dog sleeping under a car and a sidewalk barbershop. Crouched on pieces of cardboard, three men shaved, trimmed, and snipped at the beards and hair of three customers. The Irish girls last night said that nose and ear piercings here are super cheap, so they had all gotten theirs done. Cynthia and I made a pact to not do anything stupid.
I think we’ll get a more formal tour of the city this evening when our professor arrives, and I’ll try to figure out a way to get my posts from my computer on to this one. Much love until next time.