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Kolkata and Goodbyes

One more overnight train to Kolkata.
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Monty warned us that this train makes a lot of stops and that some were through some not so nice areas so we really needed to be careful with our bags. That being said it was actually the easiest of our overnight train trips to date. The platform wasn't overly crowded and we were leaving earlier then before so it was still light out.
The compartments in the train were probably the cleanest as well as the bathrooms, they actually had some kind of air freshened that made it smell like cherries, go figure.

We were able to see many rice patties and water buffalo before it got dark.
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When we arrived in Kolkata we waited patiently while Zonty arranged two Vehicles to transport us to our hotel. It is kind of bittersweet as it was to be our last night together as a group. After this night everyone would be going their separate ways. Some people like Megan from Australia and Neil and Diane from New Zealand would be continuing to the South with Intrepid where we would also be meeting new group members and a new guide. We are hoping he is as fantastic as Monty has been. Others were staying in Kolkata a few extra days and then traveling to Mumbai and Goa on their own.

We settled into our rooms after the train and showered and had a funky breakfast delivered to the room. Then we met as a group to do a quick city orientation walk. Those of us traveling to the South agreed we were kinda tired of the chaos of the North and were looking forward to some beach and yoga time. We new we weren't going to have much time here so we just went for the walk and then decided to go back and chill out before dinner.

We stopped with the group and had some yummy samosa which are not Girl Scout cookies but rather yummy fried pockets of potato veggies and a little spice. I do love it when Monty points out the safe places to try some street food.
We all felt bad when one of members Peter felt really ill. He looked really bad and was burning up so he went back to the Hotel to rest.

Kolkata reminded me of streets in NY in a way with sidewalks, street vendors, billboards and tons of yellow cabs.
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We walked passed the memorial for Mother Teresa
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And the Queen Victoria Memorial
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There is this park that Monty said to check out the couples sitting together. You see many people are still forced into arranged marriages and this is where a couple sometimes will meet in secret and then eventually they fall in love and runaway together.

We had lunch just Monty, Thom and I and then we relaxed at the hotel. Well, I did as I fell into such a deep sleep. Thom decided to go back out and try to find a card for us all to sign to give to Monty to say thank you for everything he had done for all of us.

That night was actually one of the two times Muslims celebrate Eid so no one would be serving alcohol out of respect. Therefore Monty arranged for some beers to be delivered to the Hotel so we could have a toast before we went out and a drink when we got back.
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We all met in Monty's room and presented him with the card and tips and thanked him for all that he had done. He was a real friend and not just a group leader. Some cheers and beers and then we headed down stairs for a cab ride to the restaurant
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Poor Peter was too sick to join us but was there in spirit and name.
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After a nice dinner we stopped back in Monty's room one more time to say our goodbyes to those who would not be continuing on. Monty and Megan would be sharing a cab with us the next day to the airport.
We woke up early and the four of us got a cab and right till the end Monty hung out with us. He was boarding a different flight so we said our goodbyes there as Megan joined us on our flight to Mumbai and then eventually Chennai to begin our Journey through South India.

Posted by Kelly Rose 03:43

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Sent cards for Ramadan and Eid as well as one other Holiday for celebrating. Perhaps Monty got to see them? I hope they were appropriate for I of course could not read the inscriptions...I trust 123 Greetings! Tremendous the repore you have had with Monty, could be he will visit in the USA one day and the 3 of you can reunite. I know you will keep in touch. Friends are a blessing from God you know. They have so much to offer and share their best. He has my prayers. Hope you enjoy the remainder of your trip as well as the past. Sounds like an entirely different plan and more relaxing than before. Do enjoy and many thanks for sharing all your tales and pictures. Like doing a personal National Goegraphical......Love you, Mom and Dad

by Mom and Dad

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