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Kolkata, Day Two: Flower Markets, Ghats, Synagogues, Pandals and Street Scenes

October 14

Slept longer than the night before, and I think I may be back to normal, whatever that may be. Coffee in the room. Service at the Oberoi Grand is terrific. I like the hotel a lot, better than the newer, more opulent Oberois in which I’ve stayed elsewhere.

After an excellent buffet breakfast (eggs Benedict), I meet Partha at 9AM. The very full day included stops at the flower market

At the ghats, where people wash themselves and their clothes, and lie around

at a beautiful Jewish synagogue, Meghan David, not not in operation

We had an extraordinary experience getting to the synagogue. The alley leading to the synagogue was blocked by merchants selling their wares. When our driver indicated that he wanted to back into the alley, the merchants, instead of simply suggesting that we walk the twenty or so yards to the synagogue, moved all of their wares that were blocking the alley and helped direct us as to how to back in. I was dumbfounded at their kindness, and told our guide so.

In the more upscale and greener area of South Calcutta, we saw three more amazing pandals, one of which had been judged the best pandal in Calcutta. The crowds were huge and one needed to push his way, somewhat, to get in. I remarked to our guide that it was “pandalmonium”, and he laughed and said he was going to use that term with other clients. Here is a sampling of some of the pandals and surrounding crowds.

Remember: all of these pandals are created for the ten days of the festival, and then taken down.

I think my favorite photographs, though, are of street scenes that just happen.

Partha wanted to take me by the Taj Hotel on our way back, because he’s friendly with the concierge there and I think is trying to drum up business for them. It’s a big, modern, five-star hotel that’s very nice, but not nearly as appealing to me as the Oberoi. I told Patha, but not the concierge this.

We returned to the hotel a bit after four, tired from the heat and humidity, as well has all the activity. During the course of the day, we drove by or through various other things, that I have spared you hearing about.

Showered, began to get ready for tomorrow and went down for dinner at the fancy Thai restaurant in the hotel. Meal was just terrific; not good, not excellent, but terrific. Asked chef to come out so that I could tell him. Even people who think/know that they are good like to hear it from others. I also think that it’s incumbent on those of us who are not bashful about pointing out when something is not right to let people know when something is done well. Chef seemed very pleased.

So far, I’m getting along well with myself, but I’ve been on my best behavior, and know that I can be difficult from time to time. I’m expecting a distinct downgrade in my accommodations for the rest of the trip, but hoping that my guide experience will continue to be excellent.

I’m heading into the hinterlands tomorrow, so internet may or may not be available. I’ll do what I can, but if I’m unable to post, try to muddle through without me, or go to the dualarts.com website and read blogs from old trips.

9 comments to Kolkata, Day Two: Flower Markets, Ghats, Synagogues, Pandals and Street Scenes

  • Wendy

    Amazing, Dadz. I like the aerial pictures and the street scenes, too, particularly the one where you primarily see the two, crossed braceleted arms and also the biker with the enormous load of bright yellow and blue crates. If you start getting on your nerves, I’m sure you won’t hesitate to tell yourself. Enjoy! L, W.

  • Paul Woo

    Imagine that the history of the Synagogue must be interesting…very much enjoyed the photos. Admired the one of the tiny girl next to the bicycle…

  • barbara reynolds

    A testament to the adaptability of the human immune system that people have survived the ghats.

    the man working on his plant at the flower market is perfect

  • Gil

    What a full day of pictures! They are wonderful!

  • Gil

    Great day of marvelous pictures.

  • Noreen and Gil

    Noreen’s picks were 2 at the river : one showed a man in the right foreground washing his hair, and a colorful diagonal line of people in the background. The next photo was an old bearded man wearing two gold rings, while a younger man did laundry in the background. Gil enjoyed experiencing your day through the marvelous photos. Because you have gone solo you are able to take pictures at your own pace and sites.

  • arnie

    I like your picks. My personal favorite of all is the guy pulling a very small child in a rickshaw. I love the fact that the child is looking at you and the man has his heel off the ground, caught in mid step. I also like the man sleeping on the ground, with dogs in opposite parts of the photo. Overall, I’m quite pleased with this group and think that there are probably half a dozen or so keepers, which generally is a good number for an entire trip. Thanks for taking the time to comment so specifically.

  • kay Osborne

    the photos were especially interesting

  • David Levine

    Every time I think of you, I break out in a big smile. You crack me up!

    I love your self-analysis– I can certainly relate…

    So far, I’m getting along well with myself, but I’ve been on my best behavior, and know that I can be difficult from time to time.

    Love from Eve and me.

    David

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