I arrived in Kolkata at 3 am from comparatively chilled out Chiang Mai. I really didn’t want to deal with trying to find my accommodation in the middle of the night alone in India. So I booked a very overpriced hotel near the airport.
The next day, I moved into a more budget traveller friendly accommodation near the centre of Kolkata. The uber ride there was an experience. There was poverty everywhere I turned, half naked man sitting on the street curve shampooing his hair and washing up using water from the fire hydrant. Skinny rickshaw man pulling a middle-aged chubby woman wearing one too many gold jewels down the narrow gap between the taxis. I was so glad I didn’t decide to take the public bus there. I hope I never have to take the public bus anywhere in India.
The first week alone in Kolkata was intense. I went outside of the hostel for maybe 4 hours max each day, coming back well before the sunset. I was too scared to bring out my camera, hence the lack of photos. Even taking out my phone felt like I was drawing too much attention to myself.
One word to describe my stay in Kolkata was ‘outnumbered’. I didn’t see a single non-Indian person for the first 3 days. It was only when I went to a museum I saw a group of non-Indian travellers. I’ve never been so happy to see them in my life!
After Kolkata, I was on a 3-day train over to Mumbai. This was my first Indian train experience, and definitely the longest one to date. It was amazing! Full-ish length bed with air-conditioning, it was the best train experience I’ve had so far.
Ate lots of biryanis and chais, did not get sick (yet!).