Friday, January 13, 2012

Lightning and Finn: Part 4- Calcutta

It seems like I was in Calcutta a very, very long time ago, and considering all I've seen and the miles I've travelled since I was there, it is a long way away.  Nevertheless, now that I have better computer access, I will try to get some posts done that I'd have liked to do months ago.  I have a feeling from here on out, my posts won't go in chronological order, as I try to both write and post pictures from India and from my current travels.  We'll see how I do...

Above is Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, named after Queen Victoria.  I wish I had my guidebook to remind me of more of the history of the building.  Both Finn and Lightning posed in front of it though I am only showing Lightning to the left.  It has both permanent and temporary exhibits.  To be honest, it's been so long that I don't remember the exhibits that I saw there.  What I do remember (sadly) is the relief I felt that some of the rooms in the building were air-conditioned!

The building was surrounded y beautiful and peaceful gardens, which were lovely to walk in.  Outside of the grounds were silver horse-drawn carriages to ride in.  There were also a lot of these around Gateway of India in Mumbai, but I didn't get any pictures of them there.  We decided not to take a carriage ride, but to walk. 

We walked I'm not sure how many miles through the city and finally found ourselves at Mother Teresa's mission. 

It was amazing to read about her life (and I read every word in the small museum), to sit by her tomb, and through a stroke of luck, go to mass (in Spanish) in the chapel next to her tomb. 

Pictures could be taken of her tomb, but I decided to simply sit there and take in where I was.  I did take a picture just outside the museum and tomb, next to a statue of Mother Teresa.  One thing that struck me about the mission was that there was no obvious place to give a donation for the amazing work the sisters continue to do.  I had to seek out one of the sisters to ask about doing so. 

As I walked outside, some kids asked me to take their picture.  I obliged.  They walked along with me for a bit after finally wandering off.  I had a nice dinner in the city and then returned to the house of the family who hosted me there for 2 nights.  They were so lovely; the 2 daughters in the family taught me to count to 10 in Hindi.  They tried to teach me the numbers in Bengali, too, but my brain wasn't as receptive to it...

On another day, we visited the India Museum, which was quite fascinating with exhibits on archaeology, native plants and their uses, animals of the world, the people and traditional clothing of India, fossils, and more.  There was a charge to take pictures in the museum.  I didn't pay it, but did sneak this picture (and get reprimanded for doing so!).  The exhibits were great and very interesting, but sadly not well taken care of. See the thick layer of dust... Because much of the museum was open air, there wasn't a way to control the temperature or humidity around the exhibits, and it was obvious the elements had taken their toll on some things. 

Calcutta was the last stop before joining up for my time with the SCNs.  Lightning, Finn, and I took a train from Calcutta to Ranchi.  The ride was 7 hours long and we chose to ride in one of the nicer cars.  It cost about $17 and we received a bottle of water, tea (twice), breakfast and lunch, and a newspaper to read.  Not bad! The windows were tinted, so I couldn't get a good picture of the landscape, but here's Finn posing in front of the window.

I suppose that's all for this post.  Hopefully, I'll be able to post more soon, especially more pictures!  Peace.


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