Friday, February 05, 2010
Calcutta - Friday 5.2.10
Here again at the Cyber Valley internet cafe, after having presented my official internet cafe number (02-2943, if you're interested).. I seem to be suffering intense fatigue at present - either I've contracted some ghastly disorder or it's to do with acclimatising to India. Last night at about midnight, utterly fatigued though I was, I had what seemed like an attack of claustrophobia in my very small room. I felt I couldn't breathe, and became unreasonably anxious ... rather unsettling - oh dear, I think I need to see a psychologist ... ! At a slightly more detached viewpoint (i.e 18 hours later), it was quite an interesting & informative experience ... Despite my lack of energy, I & the bike hit the streets of Calcutta this morning, resulting in an entirely different experience of intermittent anxiety. For instance, cars seem to overtake trams on both sides, and even trams heading in the other direction, on the other side of the road!! So, imagine my surprise, while cycling alongside a tram heading in the same direction, to find a car hurtling toward me ... (and this happened a number of times). I got a little caught up in the traffic flow & so indavertently found myself riding across the Hooghly River, on the Howrah Bridge - a cantilever bridge (for all my engineering mates!) & allegedly "one of the world's busiest bridges." It was rather jam-packed with traffic & pedestrians. Later on, after depositing the bike back at my hotel, I paid a visit to the Indian Museum, an anachronistic collection of stuffed animals, dead insects, rocks, art & so on. If you should ever visit, bring a torch to look at the artworks - for some reason these rooms are so dark you can barely see the picture frames. OH&S practices are sadly absent - one worker was casually standing on the edge of a third story parapet doing some reconstructive work, and another was elsewhere perched on a freestanding, unsecured bamboo scaffolding repairing a ceiling. His colleague on the ground was hauling bags of plaster up to him via some rope looped over the bamboo crossbeam. I elected to have lunch at the Blue Sky Cafe in Sudder Street, and then, deciding to beat my fatigue into submission, I visited the Victoria Memorial and then St Paul's Cathedral. I suspect it may be a few more days until I decide to hit the road (possibly via bus to Puri).