Monday, July 07, 2008

The Journey Home - Kolkata

Well, I guess it is about time that I tell the story of our trip home. It was a long trip to say the least. We left Guwahati on Saturday morning. It poured the entire drive to the airport. And when I say poured I'm talking about the sky being opened and the waters of heaven pouring down! When we arrived at the hotel in Kolkata we discovered that our suitcases that had been tied to the top of the Sumo with a tarp over them had been soaked. So we unpacked our suitcases and turned our hotel room into a mock clothesline.

In January we spent a couple nights in Kolkata but we didn't get to see very much of the city. We had some sickies on that trip so we hung out in the hotel instead. It was a lot of fun to go and see some of the city this time around.

Sunday we worshiped at the home of Swami and Violet. Violet made us an amazing lunch. She served us her fried chicken which is famous among the Canadians who have visited her house.
After lunch Ray took Raysha and me on a little adventure. The pouring rain that we had left behind in Guwahati found us in Kolkata and proceeded to drench us to the bone. I will always remember making our way from the taxi to the subway in the rain. It was if we were wading upstream or something. First we went to see the Victoria Memorial. We didn't go inside because it cost a ridiculous amount of money. It was one of those "Indians pay 20 rupees and foreigners pay a gazillion times as much" situations. I hear there's not much to see inside anyway. It looked pretty nice from the outside.

We then took a cab to the Missionaries of Charity's Motherhouse. The Missionaries of Charity is Mother Teresa's order. Inside the Motherhouse there is a small museum type display outlining the life and work of Mother Teresa. Her tomb is also there for viewing. I had just finished reading her biography written by Navin Chawla. I would certainly recommend it. It gives a lot of insight into the work that Mother Teresa was passionate about, serving the poorest of the poor. After seeing the Motherhouse we went down the street to the Shishu Bawan, children's home. We arrived only 15 minutes before the Shishu Bawan was supposed to be closed to visitors, one of the sisters kindly showed us around despite that fact. It was supper time for the children but we still visited many different areas. We saw children and infants who were being treated for malnourishment and we saw special needs children with varying degrees of disabilities. We visited with children of all ages. The only area that we were not permitted to go was the intensive care area for premature infants. My visit to the Shishu Bawan may have been short but it left a deep impression on me. When I return to India I would like to schedule one or two weeks in Kolkata for the purpose of volunteering with the work of the Missionaries of Charity. Go read the book by Navin Chawla to find out about what these dedicated people are doing all over the world.

On Monday we went to the market to look around and do some shopping. Ray took us to see the Fairlawn Hotel where the movie City of Joy starring Patrick Swayze was filmed. I haven't seen the movie but I'm gonna check it out.

Ray's shoes were in desperate need of a shine after wading through the water the previous day. Notice this guy only has one arm and one leg. Watching him tie the laces was pretty impressive.

Didn't see any of these rickshaws in Guwahati, only Cycle rickshaws.

My very first rickshaw ride was on my very last day in India.

Our flight out of Kolkata was super early Tuesday morning which really just felt like Monday night. It felt pretty surreal since I hadn't quite wrapped my mind around the fact that I was leaving India. Surprisingly there were no delays or hitches of any kind regarding our travel. Unless you factor in that Andrew spent that entire night vomiting. I felt so bad for the poor kid. He was a trooper though and by the next day in Hong Kong he was doing better. I'll save that leg of the journey for another post. To wrap up my adventures in India I'll leave you with this photo. It pretty much sums it all up.

1 comment:

~Michelle~ said...

Interesting choice of words Sis... "WHEN I return to India" ??? ;D