Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kolkata (Part 2)

Here's recap two from my recent India trip! See part one here.

Landscape of Kolkata

Kolkata is a huge city, so most of the places I went were surrounded by buildings, people, and transportation. Still, it is green.

We saw parks and lovely scenery. The image below is from a park in Kolkata - isn't this grass area so fun?!

If shoes could talk… Those sandals have been from Kolkata to Cuba, and so many places in between. It's funny how shared experiences with something as silly as a shoe makes you grow fonder, but I love those little brown sandals.


I could share about a billion photos of everyone in my group sweating, but I figured you guys probably wouldn't want to see that. Kolkata is HOT. Like, 105-degrees-every-day hot. Really hot. (I secretly loved the heat because I just love summer so much. I was super disappointed to get back to Missouri and 50 degrees.)

It's also hazy. I think that's due to a combination of heat and pollution, but I'm no meteorologist. Here's a hazy day for ya.


There are many, many taxis in Kolkata. Almost all of the taxis are the same brand - called the "Ambassador." I took a couple taxis on my trip, and they were both wild rides! The "rules of the road" in India are not quite like America - there are no lanes, so it's pretty much a free for all.

My Indian friend, Rohan, said that if/when people bump others cars, they just nod and wave, and keep driving like it's no big deal.

Another huge form of transportation in India is the rickshaw, and would you believe I didn't take a single photo of one??! (Blogger fail.) Most of them are yellow and green; they are open on the sides, and can fit about 3 people (or 4 if you're willing to sardine).


Mother Teresa, interestingly enough, was born in Albania and lived and died in Kolkata. We got to visit her house, and see her grave, which was a really neat experience. She is buried above-ground on the premise of her home and ministry.

Another thing that Kolkata is famous for is the Victoria Memorial, which was dedicated to Queen Victoria. She never saw this sight, but she certainly should have.

I would have loved to tour inside the Victoria Memorial, but we simply did not have enough time. So, I guess I'll have to go back to Kolkata and see it someday!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kolkata (Part 1)

Did you think I fell off the blogging bandwagon? Well, I did take a bit of a sabbatical. We'll blame it on the jet lag.

My trip to India was full of a lot of "firsts," starting with my first flight on a propeller plane.

India is incredible, and unlike anywhere I've ever been before. Previous to this trip, I hadn't gone anywhere that was considered "Eastern." I had been to Western Europe and various places in Central America, but I didn't realize how different an Eastern culture would be until I saw it for myself. It was eye-opening.

People of India

Below are some of my favorite people in India. This photo was taken during one of our video shoots on the trip, and I shared this image on Instagram with the caption "These people are brilliant, wise, humble, and hilarious," and I believe it to be true of everyone in the photo. Our Indian friends felt like family within a few hours!

Okay, enough about my Indian friends. Indian people in general seem to be very hospitable and well-educated. Many people speak (and write) 3 or 4 languages fluently, and there are several hundred languages that are spoken in India. Wooooow! Here are some school kiddos who are currently learning languages.

Currency of India

Indian currency is called the rupee, and 1,000 rupees is a little more than $16. I think their currency is so pretty! There is an image of Gandhi on the back of each note.

Cuisine of India

Prior to visiting Kolkata, I had never had Indian food! Not even in the States. So, there's the whole "rice and curry" thing, but I am pretty wimpy about spicy food, so I didn't eat a lot of it. I did learn some about drinks in India.

Indian lime soda was the first thing I ordered when I got to Kolkata (my brand-new friends were gracious enough to tip me off to what was good), and I loved it! You can order the lime soda either sweet or salty, but I was hooked on the sweet after one sip.

Another common drink in India is chai. (Side note: Indian nationals will laugh at you if you call it "chai tea," it is simply chai. Learned this one from experience!) Many Indian people drink tea rather than coffee. There are lots of places to buy chai on the street. You get the chai in a little clay cup, which you break on the street after you are finished with it. This is the way the cups are disposable, so you always know you received a new, clean cup!

I'm off to dream about chai and lime soda, but I'll be back soon with part two!