Day 268 (Kolkata, India)
Things have been up and down since my last post from Udaipur. I stayed there an extra night and then made my way with my travel partner to Pushkar for the camel fair. We made it there with a few days to spare before it was over so we got to check the place out for a few days. The last day was the only really interesting day as we got seats and got to see a few events. Besides that the city was interesting if only because it had so many people visiting and was so tiny for the amount of people there. The person I was traveling with got to do a tug-o-war with the locals along with 11 other foreigners and I got to see a camel race, that was the main high points of the last day of the fair.
After that my travel partner decided he wanted to take a different path and go solo for a bit so we went separate ways after Pushkar, me going to Jaipur, him going to Ahmadabad. My time in Jaipur was mostly just planning what I wanted to do in India as I had no real idea at the time. I stayed in a really cheap place and made occasional outings to buy a new pair of jeans and try some food, which has made me sick, something I am only just getting over. I did see an elephant walking down the street once and checked out a few old buildings including the old city with it’s big pink gates. A week in Jaipur and I had figured out my plan mostly which I am following currently.
From there I went to Agra so I could check out the Taj Mahal as it was always high on my India to do list. As soon as I got to Agra I was very sick and ended up spending the first 2 nights in my hotel room without ever even going outside. After that I felt slightly better and decided to visit the Taj Mahal which to my luck was free starting that day because of some cultural thing going on for a week. Because of the free entry to things around the city I also checked out a bit of Agra Fort which was not very interesting. The Taj Mahal was pretty cool from a distance although up close I found it to be a lot smaller than expected and inside was just plain disappointing. Still it was a nice visit and I am glad it was free for what it ended up being.
It took me very little time to see both things and I was on a train to Varanasi. Sadly I had a general ticket which means I had no place to sit so ended up sleeping on the floor for 6 hours before I was able to upgrade to a bed around 3-4 AM. I was worried I wasn’t going to get much sleep as I was supposed to arrive in Varanasi around 9 AM but “luckily” the train was almost 10 hours late arriving so I got more than enough sleep to last me for my very short visit. I decided while on the train to book my next train ticket to Kolkata, this time making sure I got a sleeper instead of the annoying general ticket. Sadly I booked it assuming I would have most of my arriving day to look around which did not happen so I only had the morning of the next day to check out Varanasi. I woke up in the morning and went to the area where they burn the bodies and was instantly “forced” into donating, although I had barely anything on me so got off cheap. I was again unimpressed with what I was seeing and the smoke was killing my eyes so I left for the train station, having little interest in exploring anymore of that city.
Now I should again remind everyone that I was sick which I think made me a little more impatient and less interested in the places and things I was seeing, but in general I don’t feel the need to spend hours upon hours at a site to get a feel for if I enjoy it. With that in mind my time in Kolkata has been pretty good so far as I have been recovering from being sick. I really haven’t done too much here and have spent most of my time catching up on internet related things that I have not been able to do with the poor internet I have had all last month. I am planning to spend tomorrow walking around Kolkata and doing the touristy stuff that I have been putting off in this city. Then the next day is my birthday which I may spend relaxing or might once again do some touristy stuff if I am in the mood. The little walking around Kolkata I have done have been enjoyable and I find it similar but better to Mumbai in most ways. The area of the city I am in is very similar to the area in Mumbai called Colaba but in Kolkata it just feels better somehow in a hard to explain way.
In the next few days I will be attempting to book a Tatkal ticket from Kolkata to Goa because the train is majorly booked up otherwise. If I can’t get such a ticket then I guess I will once again get a general ticket and ride on the floor for a mind blowing 43 hours, but I want to get to Goa before December 1st, so that’s what I will do to make it happen. My plan in Goa is basically to relax and recharge in one sense. Not by doing nothing but by starting a 6 week workout routine that will hopefully see me get in the best shape of my life, with noticeable results I hope. I intend to find a place to stay for my 6 weeks then maybe rent a motorcycle and just start a routine of working out and eating right. I also want to work on my tan and maybe do some guitar lessons also. And Goa is a great place for Christmas and New Year if your going to be in India anyway so I am looking forward to that.