Kolkata, Calcutta changes

Trip Start Jan 28, 2012
Trip End Mar 12, 2012

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Flag of India  , West Bengal,
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What a changes we are seeing in Kolkata, Calcutta. Coming in from Bagdogra and through Dum Dum airport you see a totally new township created: Rajerhat. Later we heard that many of the new buildings there are empty as there is no water, sanitation and electricity. The reason? Problems with the contractor around the acquisition of the land. This means that quite a few people have been swindled. All the way from the airport we see new high rise building here, new high rise there. In town we see new bypasses, any new hotels, and many Western cars on the road. We also notice traffic lights that work!

LWS India had send a car to bring us straight to the house of Vijay James, the new Director from Madras. We met Gary and Jill Sibson there. Gary set up the first emergency programme for LWS in India in 1974. They had just returned from Assam where they have donated a school in memory of their daughter who they lost when she was 16. We had a nice dinner in a new restaurant on the ninth floor of the Spring Club, a new restaurant. 

Next morning we were given a presentation by LWS India and we were also asked to do the same. Chris worked for them from 1985 to 1997 and it was moving to see that there were still a few people who knew hem and greeted him as old friends. In the afternoon we found Joydeep who is working for the Axis bank in old Calcutta. He took us by cab to Fairlawn where we had a beer. The garden and dining room has not changed since the first time we can here from Dhaka in1978. In Chris' tailor shop next door he ordered four new shirts, I bought a nice ready made shirt. After that we walked to Newmarket where we both bought new blue jeans. As sanitary stop and wait for the pants shortening we went up to what turned out to be a rooftop coffee shop
on the ninth floor of the Lindsay hotel. From there we had a great view over Calcutta and we could see how big the area of the Fairlawn hotel is in central Kolkata.

We are staying with the medical doctors Rajat and Laila Das in Salt Lake, the new township from 25 years ago. I am staying in their daughter's Rohini room, she is now doing an MBA in finance in the USA. Laila remembered that Rajat stayed in my daughter Mirjam's room when he stayed with me in Amsterdam around 25 years ago. The early morning calls from the street sellers are so typical for life in this part of he world. The 'kagoj' or paper collecting man is the fist at around 08:15.  
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Fleur on

Zo te lezen was het een beetje thuiskomen in Calcutta en een weerzien van mensen en gebruiken in een vertrouwde omgeving, ondanks de vele ontwikkelingen en veranderingen van de afgelopen jaren. Al met al een bijzondere ervaring. Enjoy en een hartelijke groet uit Haarlem,


nena on

wat schrijf je mooi over calcutta, ik krijg heimwee, wat ik me vooral herinner als eerste geluiden in de vroege ochtend zijn de vogels, die bijna je slaapkamer binnen leken te vliegen. veel groeten en heb het goed daar.

Nel en Ate on

Dear Dick,
How nice and interesting was it to read about a country we don't know. Sikkim must have been a special experience for you. And your pictures give a view of a wonderful nature! Now back in India, this feels more familiar like Bangladesh. But it is interesting to see the terrific progress/development of buildings, cars etc. Even we recognize this, they built houses without water, electric etc. I remember once when we arrived also in a brand new Hotel in Jamalpur and we had travelled a whole day so everyone wanted to take a shower or bath and then there was no water at all. Our son in law who had never been in countries like Bangladesh, was completely astonished! The next morning every guest got a bucket full with hot water! So they are developing well, but you can still meet these little problems! But it has also its charms, is not it? Enjoy your journey, as much as you do now!
Kindly Regards,
Nel and Ate

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