We flew to Kolkata, once the capital of British India. And Kolkata, how do I describe it? Where do I begin? Heat, noise, a constant movement of people, a sea of aggressive yellow Ambassador taxis that will run you down in their path, a level of destitution I have never witnessed before - BUT so much more than that. In this city, we found incredible food, a rich literary, artistic, and educational heritage, crumbling buildings taken over by trees, and so much color and life. Certainly, that's only scraping the surface.
At times, I found it to be too much. One day, we took the ferry to Howrah Bridge (one of the busiest bridges in the world, I have been told) and crossed by foot, amongst the crowds, automobiles, stifling fumes, before finding ourselves at the flower market. Suffering from sensory overload and dehydration, I stumbled into a small eatery for a few minutes to just sit down, in the air-conditioning, away from the noise.
Another day, there was a taxi strike and the streets were considerably easier to walk through. (Otherwise, crossing the street caused me stress because these cabs would not slow down or stop!)
It was intense and incredible.