Sunday, April 19, 2015

Days 2-4 of Family Visit

The 16th morning DH had wanted to take our visiting family out to show them Kolkata and that include some of our favorite food joints. We started this by heading over to Tiretti Bazaar to get the Chinese breakfast and we ended up having a steamed pork bun, some steamed chicken momos and friend pork ones. They were really good and then we headed over to another stall for some fish ball soup and then over to the small store that is owned by the same lady as last time. There we had purchased some prawn chips and meifoon, while DH and 2 of the family had tried the candied plums, which they had declared to be excellent.

After that we had hopped on a tram (which was something they were all keen on doing) and headed over to Dharamtala to our favorite hing kochuri restaurant called Mohan Bhandar. Here my Mom, DH and everyone else chowed down on their delicious combination of potato curry, kochuri's and the lanka on the side. We also had some lassi, singara and tea. After this we had headed back to the hotel using the metro because we had tickets to a hindi film, which everyone had pretty much slept through. However, before returning we had introduced them to the amazing filter coffee from Banana Leaf. After the movie we had planned to go to lunch at the Ballygunge branch of Kasturi, but they only had some daal with peas, shukto, alu posto and fish. We walked over to 6 Ballygunge Place, which had ended up being closed before finally landing up at Oasis on Park Street.

Here we indulged in some more Indian food, which had included some daal, chicken bharta, raita and vegetable malai kofta. This was washed down with some pickle and beer for DH and I and some garlic and cheese naan to fill in the holes. Next, we had gone over to Au Bon Pain or something like that for some coffee and then to Quest Mall. However, to get there we had jumped in some auto's that head to Park Circus so that we could freak my mom out some more (she hates the traffic!). When we were finished at the mall we all jumped on a bus headed to the hotel.

Well, on this bus my mom had a pretty typical bus experience, including a lady shoving her boobs into her personal space and someone asking her to hold her bags. My mom simply gave that lady a blank stare because she had no idea what she was saying. We ended up at the hotel and just hung out for some time.

The next day we were invited to a friends for lunch, but her mother had gotten ill so instead she invited us out for lunch. We had gone over to New Market and sat down for coffee at Raj's Spanish Cafe. Here Raj had teased my family and educated them (before I could get to it) about ignoring the hawkers in the market. When P showed up we headed over to New Market where we wanted to get some things for the family back home. Mom looked at some scarves, while B and J looked for a wall hanging for their daughter and sister back at home.

Once our shopping was complete we had plans to meet up with DH, so while we were waiting we had sat down at Blue Sky Cafe and had some fresh lime soda. We had then headed over to the Free School Street branch of Kasturi and stuffed ourselves full of good Bengali food. We had rice, daal, jackfruit with prawns, spinach, potato and eggplant vegetable, fish paturi (or steamed bhetki in a banana leaf with a mustard sauce) and much more.

We then headed over to Park Street Cemetery where P had begged to get us in for 5 minutes, where we all wandered around the area and enjoyed the time. We had then headed for coffee, again, before going to Gariahat to look for sheets and other necessities. We didn't find them and then we ended up going back to the hotel.

The next day was the elections, which was the 18th and also the last full day that they were going to be here. I had gone over around 11am, armed with my pajamas since I was planning on staying overnight. We hung out at the hotel and made plans with DH for the 2 families to meet. We had gone over to Mocambo where we met up with my MIL, FIL and SIL and had a good lunch. Most of the family (4 out of 8) had ordered some sort of the fish steak.

After, we had gone for coffee and then got MIL, FIL and SIL into a taxi headed for home, while we headed over to Gariahat to see what we could find in the way of sheets and a gift for my mom (which is from the family). However, mostly everything was still closed and we luckily found some sheets for Rs 150, which they plan on using at home as well. We were heading back to the hotel and DH had put us into an auto and the driver had probably thought that he had 4 foreigners in his vehicle. Well, I had said something in Bengali and he was so shocked he kept looking at me and almost ran into a bike. Most definitely the most hardcore reaction to my bangla skills so far.

We got back to the hotel and DH stayed for a bit before going back home leaving me behind with the family. We tried to sleep early, but I was getting hungry so J and I had gone out to pick up some Swarma salad and he ended up having some phucka and papri chaat as well. We went back and just hung out before falling asleep.

In the morning we had woken up early because they had to be to the train station and we didn't want the breakfast from the hotel. Mom and I had walked to Lake Market to pick up some fresh bananas and oranges for their train journey in the afternoon and some other crackers. We had gone back over to Banana Leaf for breakfast and there DH met us. He had flagged us down 2 taxi's and off to Howrah we went.

However, the heat was unbearable in the main terminal and my brother, J, had started to feel ill. We sat down on the ground while we waited for the train to arrive and when it did we promptly hopped on. we got them situated and in their proper seats, with DH also asking the younger man to change seats with mom because she was older.

The train took off at the right time and then DH and I went over to our normal pub for some snacks and beer to help us cool down and relax before coming home for some naps. They return back to Kolkata on the 25th morning and we'll spend some more time seeing the sites before taking them back to the airport in the evening.

So far I've been having fun, but am simply exhausted from running around in this intense heat!

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