Final stop in India - Kolkata

Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
Trip End Feb 23, 2011

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Where I stayed
Sudder Street

Flag of India  , West Bengal,
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The final leg of my Indian adventure took me to Kolkata (or Calcutta as it is more commonly known).

I arrived at the train station at about 6pm and immediately loved the city – It was so vibrant with market stalls and street vendors everywhere. I was really looking forward to seeing what else there was, but  after travelling for 24 hours I was desperate to check into my hotel which was just round the corner and get a nice cold shower…. I was disappoint! The hotel was awful, by far the worst place I have stayed in India. The corridors smelt like piss, the walls were filthy and the room looked like an actual prison cell, it was about the size of a coffin and bars on the "window" – and of course the shower was broken! I ended up waking up at about 5am the next day, and just checked out because I couldn't deal with staying there any longer.

I  got a rickshaw to Sudder Street located in the centre of Kolkata and full of budget hostels for the weary backpacker. The hotel room here was not much better than the first, but the hotel didn't smell and it was reasonably clean and the shower worked so I was happy! I checked in, got showered and changed before heading into the city to begin my search for a pint of Guinness or an Irish whiskey to celebrate St. Patricks Day. I went back to Sudder Street at lunch time disappointed; everyone I asked said it was impossible.  They had not heard of Guinness and only sold Scottish or American whiskey! However I refused to give up - armed with various names of hotels and restaurants and hastily drawn maps from helpful people with their suggestions I began to search again in the afternoon.  As luck would have it I stumbled upon a hotel that sold Jameson Whiskey and Baileys! WINNER!

After enjoying a single shot of delicious Irish whiskey, I headed back to the hostel to find some backpackers to celebrate with. On the way back I met 2 Irish chicks and then later on bumped into 2 Irish lads! WINNER!

Within 5 minutes we were best of friends and were quickly making plans for the night and how best to “tear it up”

It ended up being on of the maddest Paddy’s Days ever! Arrived at a trendy club and got free green shots cause we were Irish, met a random German dude who was trying to get lucky with one of the Irish girls, and danced with a crazy mafia man and his wife who was offering me cocaine! (I obviously declined!)

Walking back home at about 3am I realised just how many stray dog were wondering the streets, I said hello to one of them which just made them all want my attention. I walked home with about a dozen dogs following me at one stage.

Overall I liked Kolkata – it was a nice city, with lots to see and do and a good nightlife!

Summary of India

3 weeks is not nearly long enough to see everything

The best thing about India was the scenery and the sense of community you found when visiting slum areas or local market places which were away from the tourist areas. When you get out of the cities and away from the busy areas, you find a real sense of peace and tranquillity.

I suppose the worst thing about India would be the people! I mean some of them are lovely, I met many Indians who were really helpful, and were great to talk to – but it seemed they were few and far between. It was hard to make conversation when they were only interested in selling to you or when the only phrase they know is “hello, my friend, come look my shop” which they repeat endlessly!

I liked India – a lot, but I didn’t love it… I would like to come back again, cause there is a lot more I would still like to see and do. I would defiantly recommend it as place for others to go, especially Hampi – I LOVED Hampi and Goa. I wish I had spent longer there.

So there you have it, that was a brief insight to my time in India.

Next up on Irish Marks Epic Global Adventure: Thailand!, Cambodia!, Vietnam! & Laos!

Love you all!!

Irish Mark

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