having the need to leave the apartment – as you often have to for food and water – i have quickly realized the reasons why kolkata is sometimes described as “simultaneously noble and squalid, cultured and desperate…a daily festival of human existence…all played out before your very eyes on teeming streets where not an inch of space is wasted.”
i found this wonderful uplifting quote in a travel book a few days ago – and my experiences over the last few days got me thinking about it. (it seems the authors have been here before…)
our adventures began yesterday morning heading to the mall to eat and run a few errands. arriving at the mall you walk thought a metal detector that might be working but all in all i’m not really sure. the mall is comparable to the eaton center in t-dot: very large, fairly expensive stores. you know.
after a quick tour, some groceries and lunch it was off to the market.
now this was unlike anything i’ve seen before. you hear of the street markets and the millions of people, but until you’ve been in the middle of one, words can’t describe the insanity that takes place.
frankly, the mass amount of people really stressed me out – not to mention the the beggars, the street kids, the market vendors all competing for our attention. also, i don’t think it helped that i’m a foot taller than everyone else – and we were the only white people there. everyone was staring.
i guess after the initial shock, it was alright. we bargained for everything, fought though crowds, and avoided the odd car that drives down what seems to be a glorified walkway. we ended up coming away with some nice items.
it was crazy and it almost pushed me too far – i lasted about 30 minutes before we had to leave. regardless, i’m glad it was something i got to experience here in kolkata!
and as always great to see the marketing boys hard at work!