Sunday, May 29, 2011

India Trip Part 7: Kolkata

My final stop in india is the country's second largest city, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Despite the way my parents remember the city, it is quite nice and relatively clean.

Kolkata was the capital of colonial India so there is a great deal of british architecture and lots of nice parks.
Conveniently, the traveller's ghetto, Sudder St., is pretty close to the best area for nightlife in the city, something that was far from true in Delhi or Mumbai. The nightclubs in Kolkata are very expensive

I took a break from the bars and clubs for one night to catch a Bollywood film. I chose a theater close to my hotel and it onle had one screen so the wasn't any choice of what show to see. The movie was a horror movie along the same lines as the hollywood film "paranormal activity" so unfortunately there were no elaborate dance scenes. While the movie wasn't much to write home about, the theater itself was pretty impressive; three tiers of balconied seats and large enough to hold well over 1000 people, however only about 15 chose to see the film I was seeing.

I did quite a bit of walking around the city and checking out the old colonial districts, all of which have been renamed to remove any association with the British. I took a ferry ride across the Hooghly River to visit the twin city of Howrah and then walked back along the Howrah bridge to take in the views.

On my final day in Kolkata and what was to be my final full-day in India I fell ill once again with the famous Delhi Belly (perhaps in this case Calcutta Butta). I lay in bed most of the day drinking water and various medications trying to decide whether I would be well enough to take the bus to Siliguri, a city near the Nepalese Border. A late decision saw me boarding the bus, still nauseous but "well enough".

I arrived the next day in Siliguri without incident and continued on to the border with a shared taxi for about a 1 hour drive. I walked across the border which was surprisingly easy and hassle free.

Upon seeing the border town on the Nepal side of the Border I decided to take yet another overnight bus to Pokhara. Had I seen the bus before I bought my ticket I may have chosen differently.

 On one of the oldest, most overcrowded buses I have been on I set off across Nepal. I had been forwarned that road conditions made nightbuses in Nepal particularly dangerous and that drivers often fall asleep (don't know how you could on that bus). We stopped multiple times o pick up cargo and people until both the inside and roof of the bus were full. It was a very long night but I finally arrived in Pokhara.
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