Buses, Chocolate and Live Music

Today was a low key day. It was less of a day for errands and more of a day for relaxation, for me at least. As a result, I picked up on a few things while I was walking through the streets.

Crossing the street is terrifying. Crossing the street has always made me anxious. Growing up in California, I always waited patiently for the little man on the pedestrian signal to turn green before I crossed the street. Then I went to school in Boston where pedestrians (and drivers) kind of do what they want. I stopped waiting patiently at crosswalks and I started marching confidently into the street with my arm extended in a stop/thank you for letting me cross gesture. Now I am in India and I am just plain terrified of crossing the street. I always forget to look in the right direction. I’ve also noticed that the cars don’t really stop for pedestrians. There don’t seem to be any shared rules when it comes to crossing the street here in Kolkata, everyone plays by there own. When there is a huge mob of people waiting to cross, only a few people will cross each time. It’s kind of difficult to assess the risk when a car is coming at you and blaring its horn. Its all about how fast you can trot, really. Its more of a personal experience rather than a collective one. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when everyone crosses the street together but, its not the norm. Today we were crossing the streets near a bus depot so when I finally remembered to turn my head in the correct direction towards oncoming traffic, I only had so many seconds to decide if I should stay put or make a run for it before a giant bus would ram into me. There is nothing like seeing and hearing a giant honking bus speeding towards you while hundreds of people watch. Crossing the street usually involves me trying to do my most graceful and relaxed sprint across the street while trying to return to my normal blood pressure for the next 2 blocks. My heart falls deep every time.

Two Americans eating chocolate is apparently extremely interesting. So we had just finished eating lunch (which if you read my last blog post explains why I felt so comfortable in this situation) and I decided that I wanted a chocolate bar. Another Fulbrighter and myself decided to buy some chocolate from the little shop thingy on the street while we waited for our friend to go to the ATM. As we were waiting, we decided to open up our chocolate bars, which were semi-melted, and eat them right there on the street. Every single person that walked by just had to look watch.  It reminded me of those commercials when people are doing some type of demonstration on the street and people don’t necessarily stop but they definitely watch as they walk by. One guy even stopped to talk about us to the doorman of the restaurant we had just been inside of. I could tell he was talking about us because he was pointing. You would have thought we were doing a PETA demonstration against fur or something. I guess its pretty interesting to watch a multi-racial duo eat chocolate on the sidewalk. ahh, sweet, sweet, globalization.

I love Indian food. I am at the stage where I just can’t get enough.  Today we had Indian for lunch and dinner, which is a double win in my book. I’ve been having really good luck opening up the veg side of the menu and choosing something at random. Its all been so tasty. Today, we went to this place called Trinca’s. I absolutely loved it. Its a restaurant bar that has apparently been around for a long time. According to the man at our hotel, it was a happening place in the 60s. The best part of Trinca’s  was the live music. The band was extremely efficient. When we first walked in, the lead singer was holding the mic in one hand and playing the keyboard with the other. The drummer was playing on an Octopad. After a while, they spiced things up and brought a singer onto the stage. She sang some really pretty Indian songs and then switched over to “My Heart Will Go On”. We clapped enthusiastically for that one.

Tomorrow we move into our apartment and start Bangla classes. 

Happy 4th of July!


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