Kolkata Crapula

When Mood Music
2006-08-26 13:28:00

‘Crapula’ is latin for ‘headache’ or ‘hangover’.

The sun is in the east, even though the day is done
Well I read a lot and finally got to board my flight around 9pm. Take-off wasn’t too late and the Singapore Airlines flight was everything it should have been. I even got a window seat. Also, someone was sat in ‘my’ aisle seat when I got onto the plane. He disappeared before take-off. I wonder if it was my lunghi or my BO that vaporised him.

Despite taking off at 9pm and being in the air for maybe an hour (maybe two), I arrived in Kolkatta’s NSC Bose International Ear Port earlier than I departed Singapore. Gotta love this time-zone business!

Arrival at Kolkatta provided the change I’d been expecting. It’s warm, dirty and (probably) smelly. The tiny luggage carousel was crowded by the time I got there. I really distrust about this form of luggage reclaim. What’s to stop the bozo who gets through immigration before you buggering off with your luggage? This is one of the benefits of carrying a massive and heavy rucsac: no-one wants the hassle of picking it up.

Outside the terminal, I was, of course, set upon by rickshaw and taxi-drivers before I could draw breath, much less retrieve my guidebook and find directions to the airport hotel. I walked away from them but they all followed me, despite me saying clearly “I do not need a taxi. I will walk to my hotel”. I escaped to a phone-stall to book a room in the airport hotel but still they crowded me and I lost my rag. “Bugger off! Don’t hang around me like flies around shit!” The airport hotel seemed to try to tell me that it was full.

Eventually I walked through the cloud of annoyances to a taxi-person who hadn’t been bothering me and got him to take me to the official airport hotel. I’m sure he didn’t, unless it’s changed name in the past 5 years but the room I got in the place he took me was acceptable for 500 rupees and no further than the official airport hotel would have been. What wasn’t fun was the staff repeatedly showing me how to use the TV, despite me unplugging it and telling them “I want sleep, NOT TV”.

I spent a while this morning getting as much as I could within my hold luggage. (I’m very pleased that I could pack birthday presents for my siblets: it’s their birthday tomorrow.) All I had to post home was three books I read yesterday and the presents I had been given by the Tangkeran Utara folk. These were still nicely wrapped and I didn’t want to open them and find out what they were until I got home. With hindsight, I’d have been better off posting home my laundry. I should have learnt my lesson at Mumbai.

I had spent quite a while, used the last of my plastic bags and almost all of my sellotape creating a neat parcel: being told to unpack it and show all the contents to the postal staff was disheartening. I told them that the individual parcels contained presents: I was delighted that they did their duties and they were very welcome to open them themselves and check that they were acceptable but I did not want to know the contents yet. No chance: despite the aid of a number of other people who were posting parcels I had to open each sub-parcel myself. Bah!

However, I am very pleased that there was a post-office on the airport approach-road. Schlepping my rucsac et al to the centre of Kolkatta has no appeal. I also got talking with one of the postal staff who wants English conversations: we’ll meet this evening for continued chat and a walk around the Dum Dum area.

I’m even more pleased that there is a 24-hour-service luggage depository. So I just have with me my cabin-baggage: a camera bag and a cuddly pig. In total volume they’re smaller than the current limits so I should be OK. The contents are three more books, a comb and a change of shirt and grunties. I’m goign to try Kolkatta’s metro system. There’s no sign yet of the promised extension to the airport, so I have to go 10 km to the nearest metro station. There is a ‘western train’ station but there’s only two services each day, going I-don’t-know-where. Apparently it’s only been open six weeks. I’ll try to report to all the Starlink folk out there.

OK, time for lunch and a final meander in India…

See you even sooner, space-cats!

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