'Twas the Night Before Christmas

See previous and next. Date: Christmas Eve Place: Kolkata

Nativity Scene in IndiaSt. Paul's Cathedral in KolkataIt's been quite surreal, on TV there have been Bengali santas selling carpets, and outside St. Paul's Cathedral in Kolkata there is a nativity scene, but apart from this we've essentially escaped the whole Christmas shenanigans.

One of the main things today was a trip to Rash Behari, a nearby street where jewellery is sold. Monica's mum was set on buying us a ring each. This was non negotiable. Now, the Indian sensibility is more gold -> better. Unfortunately this meant that most of the rings were way too much for me, I felt like 'Del Boy' and I wouldn't have worn the ring. In the end I got a nice simple gold band. Monica got a nice piece too. Gold jewellery is sold simply by weight in India, and in several shops they had an electronic display showing the up to the minute price from the financial markets. Monica's mum was a bit disappointed that they didn't have more 'bling' - but we had to explain that if she wanted us to wear the rings then they couldn't be quite the style she would have chosen.

In the evening we went into Kolkata with Anupam and Barnali and saw St. Paul's Cathedral, we then went to the Birla Planetarium. This was an English Commentary, and was quite funny when the woman broke into 'Indian Masi' mode and scolded the audience saying 'I thought I told you to keep the children quiet!'

There are also commentaries in Hindi and Bengali, I'm not sure how Anupam and Barnali coped with the English commentary.

After the planetarium we were taken over the Hooghly Bridge (Vidyasaga Setu) and back. Anupam seemed set on stopping the taxi in the middle of the bridge. We thought this was bloody dangerous, no hard shoulder - and it's not the best place to photograph the bridge!

Back at the hotel it was difficult to sleep, there was a wedding going on downstairs and music was thumping up through the floors.