Well well well! This place is mental and it’s frustrating I’m going to have to keep this semi short or I’ll be sitting up on the top floor for the wifi all night. Excuse typos etc, I am not editing right now.
So the flights were quick and great, had a lot of turbulence on the last 3 hour flight but we were both completely zonked so was rather like a baby in a pram. We finally landed and jumped into a bright yellow taxi and then experienced a crazy, literally non-stop rollercoaster ride through tiny ‘roads’, literally bumping into people on the roads – it was frightening to be honest but I cleverly kept my eyes looking out the side window as opposed to the front windscreen. We got dropped about 100yards from our hotel at 6am and that little tiny walk was pretty scary! The entire world rousing from their sleeps on the pavements and the ones that were drugged up trying to shout at you and get yo9u to buy/sell/smoke things. Pretty intimidating. But we ran to our hotel and were greeted by the lovliest team of men ever – so nice3 and welcoming and friendly and smiley and straight away gave me a cup of hot chai tea – which I am loving. Harry the owner is brilliant already and there are awards from trip advisor eeeeverywhere, all over the walls, right up to this current year and month, which feels good.
We basically spend the day sleeping in our room, visiting the local supermarket for water (they had run out when we got there) and emergency room snacks (Kitkats and Lays). Then at 2.30pm we wandered, further than we expected and in crazy humid heat (luckily no monsoon today) to Mother Teresa’s House, where we met another foreigner waiting for registration and a lot of smiley silent nuns. At 3 we followed two of the sweet things 10mins down the road – again, going anywhere on foot or in a vehicle is suicidal here – on the way the sisters seemed to gather random followers and soon a group of about 7 of us reached the orientation point, which actually houses all the orphan babies too. We were in this fanned oasis for about two hours filling out forms, obtaining info on the houses you could work at, and finally choosing one. Javi and me are going to work in Prem Dan, a house for terminally sick patients who have looooong-term conditions. From there we hooked up with a few guys and girls (EVERYONE here is Spanish, not even exaggerating) and arranged to meet them for dinner at the local Spanish restaurant of course. Not kidding, I needn’t have any fear of losing my Spanish while here as I’m practicing it more here than at home! Me and Javi then popped into a random huge clothes store as I was feeling very disrespectful wearing a strappy top, even though I had a cardigan on top, people still stared. And before you say, it’s because your white and foreign, no no it’s not because now I’m in full Aladdin pants and a t shirt and lo and behold nobody blinks at me.
This afternoon was shower investigating time – we both felt skanky as hell after pretty much 2 days in the same clothes yuk – and it’s a really nice one I’m pleased to report! We then went to eat some food and I experienced a mild panic attack as my right foot suddenly acquired six bright red small bites. We came back to the hotel to discover my red nail polish I’d put on in Spain had melted and caused little spots… Hahaha panic over.
Oo and we bought more pants and tunics and t shirts and these ugly arse sandals but perfect for these streets. This is really is like nowhere else, Kolkata. It’s mental, the streets are filthy and full of caca and urine and dogs and puppies and cats and cows and naked street kids and stalls selling everything. But then you look closer and you notice the little piles of rubbish stacked against the curb and you a young girl washing her baby brothers face and a random man helps you find a place without asking for a tip or food or drugs … And you relax a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, our money is in four different locations, five including under Javi’s soles, and we don’t look many people in the eye at the moment. Give us a chance, we’ve only been here 12 hours. But what a 12 hours. We also witnessed a foreigner plonk himself down on the road and light a cigarette and ten street kids bundled him instantly. He silently proceeded to inspect each of their feet and apply iodine and bandages to the ones that needed it. It was totally mesmerizing to watch. One other foreigner, a Chinese lady on her own, stood close to watch and then had to try an ignore the children jumping on her and trying to touch her bag and hat while calling her mummy, mummy. This was right outside our hotel and didn’t take long for one little boy to come over and grab our hands. We played high fives for a few minutes and then scurried back inside. So not up on the etiquette yet so playing it very cautious. But the kids are beautiful.
So I’m going to have to stop or like I say, I could go on forever already, but I hope you get the gist of our first day. Luckily no rain but its a heat I’ve never felt before. Takes a while to acclimatize your breathing. Right, I’m off to try to sleep now at 9.45pm as we are up to go have breakfast with the sisters at 7am tomorrow – first day of work!
Can’t wait to fill you in tomorrow