Back in Kolkata. Even though I was just here three weeks back, it felt as though I haven’t been here in quite awhile – I was surprised. Perhaps the last visit was a short one and I haven’t been out experiencing the streets in quite awhile.
Enjoyed a comparatively decadent evening. Came back to the hotel room at 7-ish. Dumped my heavy bag and went out with just my camera and phones. Pity that ain’t as lightweight as one would prefer. Took a cab to Park Street – Oxford Book Store. That’s probably the best bookstore in town. Had the typical experience with an Ambassador taxi. The driver turned off the meter halfway, as if I wouldn’t notice. Heck it was such a short trip that it would probably be only 20 rupees. I was mentally prepared to just give 50 rupees, since it ain’t lot and I only had one 100 rupee note. So that’s what he asked for, and I just retorted that 50 rupees could bring me to Park Circus. bleh. just for the fun of it. Paid 40 rupees in the end anyway. Shrug.
Lovely bookstore. It’s got british style, it tries to be upmarket, somewhat successful. It actually stocks Waterman, Parker and one other fountain pen marques. Impressed, and pretty decent pens at that. Very cool. Picked up a stack of books. Some pent-up desire from yesterday’s self-control at Kino and Borders, and most of them were S$10 odd. A website recommended the cafe on the 2nd level of the bookstore. Quite a cool place they’ve got. Seats and benches around for people to read, a small cafe, a mess of a bookstore, shelves after shelves of stacked books. dusty even, my gosh. Lots of classics. The more popular literature. Yeah greatness. Quite a wonderland. I haven’t actually spent so much rupees in cash before.
Crossed the road to Flurry’s, this old cafe selling english cakes and tea. Had my sandwich dinner, mango milkshake, cherry chocolate cake. A bunch of american youths sat near me. I wonder what they came to Calcutta for. Mission work? Holiday?
Decided to walk back instead of take the taxi in the other direction. Not far but well it was hot weather. Not a nice month to visit India, not nice at all.
Ended up watching TV5monde on tv.
The most decadent part was sitting in an armchair slicing and eating mangoes. bleh. I guess they’re in season =p
Sat in the car listening to Brooke Fraser while trundling through the crowded streets and hearing the car horns – surreality. It sortof struck me deeply that I was really here in the middle of Kolkata, India, experiencing all this. I wondered what was it like a hundred years ago when the British moved from London to here, what did they feel, what did they see, what did they build, what did they forsee? Did they imagine Singapore might become what it is today? Did they imagine India so big..
Turn, swerve, honk, turn, swerve, honk, honk, honk. And back to the default security check, boot, under the hood, glove compartment, under the car… through the gates, porch. door opens. metal detector. bag disappears to xray. body patdown. too many phones in my pocket. wait for bag. bag arrives. through the lobby and corridor. up the lift. keycard. no more music.
i went to run, in the gym. no one else in there. its rather eccentric to walk down an antique hallway, so antique. and come to this spa/gym place. nicely decorated, lovely changing room. green apples, towels, little bottles of water. wall mirrors. quiet machines. i bob up and down on the treadmill, 6 min/km. so slow. it is terribly disconcerting to stop, i feel like the whole room is moving forward, terribly irritating compared to real running. bah. tries to cycle some. tires my thighs more than my heart. not fun. towel. green apple. changing room has hair gel, comb, and other accessories. decides to go back to my room to bathe instead, cycling made me cool down.
had to dress up to come down for dinner. what a pain.
nice bread. soury vinegar/olive oil. fragrant murgh malai kebab. so so garlic naan. quiet dinners. sweet onion rings.
3. late day in the office. not a quiet dinner. bothered by the hotel persons. read more before sleeping.
4. a messy day. trundled to the lab. really an experience going through all the roads. much crazier than just being in the city centre. unbelievable sights. staring into the eyes of a boy as he stands in the middle of the road, waiting for the traffic. unbreatheable.
a stormy night. driving through the rain, darkness, potholes, uneven roads. wondering at the strange road to the airport. arriving just in time at the airport. mutely going through the checks and customs, nothing left to say. delays at checkin. a rare mess for SIA. immigration. xrays and wands. crowds. priority boarding. down a ramp into the outside air. airport buses. stairs. a suit holding an umbrella in the rain. yesterday’s newspapers. a little boy beside me. in-ear earphones and eyeshades. apple juice. rain and turbulence. welcome homes. hokkien speaking handlers. T3. wonky passport scanner. champagne. wet luggage. waves. xrays. daybreak. taxi queues. chrysler. mercedes. elevator. searching for keys. always searching for keys.