I do not want to talk bad about India. It is a lovely place with some rather strange laws and rules I need to get a handle on before I make my next hop. Simply a tactical error on my part. Nothing to do with India.
The people did not bother me what so ever. Other than the begging and touts. Which I am use to handling.
The city of Kalkata is an extremely dirty place. Oddly I saw Black Kites by the hundreds in mid town. Low enough to reach out and touch at times. There was a garbage dump in mid town??? Very bad odors.
Kalkatl? and prices. It is about two times more expensive for me there than Thailand. For a decent hotel that I was comfortable with. With internet and hot water. And clean enough to sleep at night. You can get places there for 1500 rupees up to 6000-?. I found with haggling I could get the 6000 rupee room down to about 3800 / night. That is a pretty nice place. Where you can relax and forget the conditions that exist on the other side of the wall. Very different, and much different than I imagined.
It reminded me somewhat of Vietnam. The people are ALL after the dollar in anyway possible. Never physically bothered in any way. But just a headache every second having to argue with someone about the over charging. and trying to rip you off however possible. Vietnam was very similar. I stayed in Vietnam for two months. India I am leaving early. VERY early.
There are so many people that the trains get booked sometimes weeks in advance. You cannot just go into the station and buy a ticket. Everything is online. Internet is in place in the better hotels. But a real pain for me. Also a sim card for your phone is different. You have to show ID and wait for it to be cleared and initialized. In short India is not a very friendly travel destination IMO.
Knowing what I know now. I am going to get my rail pass in order if possible????? Book everything in advance if possible??? and head to specific birding locations. Trying to reduce the stress and mental anguish as much as possible.
I also arrived when there was a celebration going on. So roads, were closed, banks close tomorrow.
The one thing that made the trip nice was the food. IMO the best I have ever eaten in this part of the country. Just delicious and variety was great. I want to go back so bad now. But more planing is in order to really enjoy India in my opinion.
I have a return air ticket waiting on me in Kalkata. I will pay my way back. That way my next hop will be less expensive and hopefully more relaxed.
So new experience, glad I came early in the season. Hoping the next hop will be more productive.