We took a 28 hr train to Calcutta after a short layover. We picked up some Marry Brown's fried chicken for lunch. Boy, was it good and spicy!!!!
As we got rush seats (tatkal), we weren't able to get beds in the same berth. However, we were lucky enough to have someone in Nigel's berth offer to trade. He sat with us in our berth and the 5 of us had a great time and got along very well. There was Amitav and Shampa (husband and wife who were moving to Calcutta), and Prajeet from Hyderabad (relocated by his company to Calcutta). Amitav worked for Indian Oil, and Prajeet worked in IT so we all had something in common.
At one of the stations near Calcutta, they hopped off and brought back Aloo Dum and some small, fried chapattis. The Aloo Dum (very spicy potatoes in bit of gravy) came in a small bowl made of woven teak leaves. Boy, was it spicy!!!! Nigel just loved it and wanted to go back to get some more! Lammie had her tongue hanging out and reached for the water! Though it was spicy, it was very tasty. We followed that up with some tea that was served in teracotta cups, and some Paan (a mix of this and that wrapped up in a betel leaf and chewed as a digestive aid). The Paan was definately interesting. One bite, you taste the candied fruits, then next one you taste the bitter betel nut. Nevertheless, it left your mouth feeling fresh.
We said our goodbyes and caught a cab to the Chowringhee area where we found our hotel. It was extremely hot and humid out. After a quick A/C break in our room, we hit the streets. As it was Sunday, there were plenty of folks out and about. At the Victoria Memorial, we wandered along the park while slurping back ice creams. It was a nice Sunday stroll in the park, and it seemed that we weren't the only ones that thought so --plenty of people doing the same!!!
The park across the street from the monument had so many people in it just chilling out and enjoying a chat with friends and family while others played cricket and kids flew kites. It was a great sight.