Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 2 at Kolkata - Exploring New Market and experiencing pulled rickshaw and old tram :)

Friendly cab driver - turned on Hindi  love song for Riku haha... So romantic!!!
Second day in Kolkata. We took a yellow cab on the way to our destination.We took many rides on the yellow cab during our stay in Kolkata, as the hotel where we stayed was quite faraway from city center. By right, the Taxi should use the meter, but by left, most of them preferred to deal on the agreed price before boarding. And most of the time we would pay more than the agreed time as usually they expected us to pay in exact amount (very few of them would offer the change). So, before boarding, we had to ensure that we had small changes in our wallet, or otherwise, they would keep the balance or gave us less change.

Cheers.... :)
Before visiting Kolkata, I told another Bhutanese friend, Tashi Wangchuk, that I'd be going to Kolkata. He was asking me, why Kolkata?? He seemed to have bad experience with Kolkata before. Haha.... He told me the story of taking the cab, where the driver would bring him round and around the place, whereby the actual place was very near only. He also warned me about the beggars, not to give them money. Because once you gave one, other beggars would come out and started asking you for money again. However, he still wished me well and to enjoy the "City of Joy", Calcutta. Hehe... Thank you! He also told me that there is no air-conditioner inside the cab. Haha.. At first, I was so surprised, because in many countries, taxi would be equipped with air-conditioner. But after that, I got used to it. However, the weather was not that bad while we were there, so no need air-conditioner. The natural air blow would be perfect for us :)

New Market or S.S Hogg Market
We decided to visit New Market or also commonly called S.S. Hogg's Market (named after Sir Stuart Hogg), which is located on Lindsay Street, the oldest and most well known market, as Riku and I would like to experience the busy, crowded, and chaotic market. They sell everything in the market, from clothing, bags, hair accessories, shoes, dolls, even food (wet and dry market), and many other things. They displayed their items on the street. We also could see many local Indians there doing their shopping. It was on Monday around 4pm. I was wondering how come it was so crowded!! Don't they need to go to work???

It's packed! New Market Kolkata

Bags, clothing stalls - New Market Kolkata

Whole stretch of bag seller!!!

Khadim's - clothes shop

Small groceries stall

Household equipment

Other things plus sugarcane seller - New Market Kolkata

Is it Indian sweet?? Looks like noodles to me.. Hahaha... :P
Food street seller - New Market Kolkata
Many snacks were sold along the street too. But we didn't dare to try, scared that our stomach wouldn't get used to it. Haha... Better prevent than cure :D

Snack Bar - New Market Kolkata

Fast Food Corner - New Market Kolkata
Chai (tea) selling - relaxing, drinking, and chatting

Fruits seller - New Market Kolkata

What was he selling???

Cut fruits seller - New Market Kolkata
And guess what? They even have Doraemon shop there!! Haha.. At first, I was also wondered why there was Doraemon sign standing there out of nowhere but India, then after that I realized that there was a shop on the side, just next to the signage. We went it, but too bad, they only sell the children's clothing. Nothing for me to buy... Hehe.. But good to know that there is even Doraemon in Kolkata!!!

Doraemon in Kolkata!!!
On our way there, we saw lots of rickshaws on the street. There are two types of rickshaw. One is the pulled rickshaw, while another one is cycle rickshaw.

These are cycle rickshaws
In New Market, we saw lots of pulled rickshaw. Since the ambiance was so unique - old market called New Market - Riku and I decided to try the pulled rickshaw over this place. Since we had no idea where to go, we just told the rickshaw puller to pull us around the building one round.

Pulled rickshaw

Here we go!!!
As it was only two of us, we didn't dare to ask other people to help us taking photo. Therefore, we took our self-taken photo below. Hehehe...

On the pulled rickshaw - at New Market, Kolkata
We enjoyed the ride soooo... much!!! It was our first time trying it. It was so fun!!! So glad we could try it in our life. The seat was quite high so we could see a wonderful view surrounding us :) Hehe.. Riku even said, while sitting on it, he felt as if he was on his wedding ceremony. Lolx!!!

Taking photo with the puller - after finishing the ride
It costs us INR80 for one round. A bit expensive. Usually it would only cost between INR7-20 ba. But since we enjoyed it and very happy, we just paid the amount to him. It left us with a wonderful memory haha...

Fish seller
After that, we walked to another place where we could ride a tram. On the way there, we passed by the street that sells many things (just like a wet market, where fishes, fresh chicken could be found), and many other thing, includes fortune teller.

Fresh chicken seller

Asking your future???
Before going to Kolkata, my colleague has recommended me to try the tram in Kolkata. Riku asked the cab driver on how to stop the tram. He said, we could stop the tram anywhere by showing our hand and the tram driver will stop.

Ladies Special Tram - Kolkata
Guess what?? We, I mean, I, was so lucky!!! Hehe.. The tram that we stopped, was quite special!! We took ladies special tram, which means, only ladies could sit on the first part of the tram, while the other part was for man. So, I sat in front part, while Riku had to take the behind part of the tram.

For ladies only - Kolkata Tram
Only few ladies seen inside the tram
This article was saying about the Ladies-only tram. Quoted from the article: "Tram conductors say they get five women per trip at best, making the service economically unsustainable. CTC chairman Shantilal Jain acknowledged that the 'ladies specials' had not become popular and would be gradually phased out. "We have had a very poor response to the 'ladies special' service and have decided to make the second compartment a general one," Jain told TOI. Sources said the move was a step towards withdrawing the service altogether." So, you know now why I said I was lucky, weren't I??? :)

Riku at the tram behind :)
When boarding the tram, Riku was panicked. He was afraid that both of us would not be able to communicate on where to go down as we took a separate tram. Haha.. But luckily, there was a small window connecting the two parts of tram together where we could see and communicate each other. The ticket only costs INR5 per trip. We felt great and satisfied by trying these old style transport in Kolkata.

That's why I love travel so much. Simple things in life can make our lives happy. Giving a little more would make other people happier too... Day 2 of Kolkata will be continued. Keep reading ba!!! :)

P.S. Some photos were taken by Riku

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