Monday, October 16, 2006

Wednesday 11th October, 2006 – Interesante

I woke up around 1pm today. I had made an appointment at Swayam to come in around 3pm to talk about my work and how I would be working with them. Inam, one of the workers here at the Marina Hotel, had volunteered to take me to Mother Teresa’s house, so we left for there around 2:15pm. When we got there, we were told that public viewing was from 3pm – 6pm, so I turned to leave. Actually, I’m jumping the gun.

Inam and I took a taxi to Mother Teresa’s house. Once we got down, this random guy standing by the road, noticing that I was a foreigner, started making a big show like he was pointing me to the house, when in the first place, I was with a guide, and secondly, there was a big sign on the house stating clearly that this was Mother Teresa’s house. After we had been told the viewing times and we turned to leave, the man started asking for money, claiming that he needed money for milk for his infant. It sounds pretty cold and callous of me, that I didn’t give him money, but I didn’t like his tactics. It might seem like a big generalization, but I have been feeling like some people want money for not doing anything, mainly because they think I’m a tourist and I have lots of money to spare. It is quite frustrating.

We then took a taxi to take me to Hazra Road, where the Swayam office was located. The taxi driver didn’t know where it was. He took us to the wrong place, and charged Rs. 53. We got down and asked for directions, and walked for about thirty minutes before we ended up in the right place. It was quite a workout, as I had my backpack with me, and Kolkata is hot. J I met up with Anindita, and had a nice chat. When I left, it was almost 5pm, and the sun had set. Inam was getting antsy because he was usually home around 2:30pm, and he said his wife would get angry at him.

We took an auto-rickshaw to the end of the street (that was quite a lot of fun! I wish someone had taken a picture of me in there.), and then caught a bus to the end of that main road, where we crossed over to Park Street. Inam took me through the houses from Park Street to the street where the hotel was, instead of just walking by the main road. It was pretty convoluted, and the place reminded me very much of Nima (in Ghana). We saw some watermelon and bought Rs.10 worth.

Once we got to the hotel, Inam said he would go get me a SIM card. I gave him Rs. 300 for the SIM card, took out my UK SIM card and gave him my handset. I also gave him Rs. 100 for taking me around. He kept saying that I should give him the SIM card when I was leaving, so I asked him if he would pay me back for the SIM. He smiled and shook his head, and said that after I had returned it to him, I should later on buy him a handset. Can you believe that? I asked him if he thought I was rich, and he smiled, saying that I could get him one for Rs. 2000. I felt sad and disappointed in him, because I thought he was one of the few who didn’t want to take me for all he could get.

My hotel room has TV with about seventy channels, including VH1, and the Zee channels that show western sitcoms, soaps, shows and movies. It’s pretty fun and comforting. Garnier seems to have a big market here in India as they have a lot of ads on TV for different products I didn’t even know they made. I’ve been here three nights (technically), and I’ve been to the internet café two of those nights. I therefore decided to adhere a little more to the Watson spirit and not go to the café tonight. My parents called me right after I had made that decision, and I was very happy to hear from them. My mom is with my dad at the moment, so it was lovely to chat with both of them and hear their voices. Twum called me last night and early this morning (which was nighttime on the west coast of the US). I had been feeling a bit lonely till then, so I was happy to hear from my family. I had been told earlier today that the West Bengali area is known for it’s fish dishes, which is why I ordered Fish Tikka Butter Masala and plain rice and a bottle of water from the hotel’s restaurant. I hadn’t eaten the whole day so I pretty much wolfed the food down, after which I promptly fell asleep. This was around 7pm. LOL!!

I woke up later with a really bad headache, due to the fact that I hadn’t eaten much earlier that day nor drunk enough water. I took some medicine, chatted with Twum on the phone, and went to bed around 4am. It was a pretty okay day.

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