Day 19 – Paro to Kolkata 

Sunny but chilly this morning on the way to the Paro airport.

An immigration officer at the airport sports a button with the faces of the current king and his father.

Take off shows some of Bhutan’s mountain roads, most of them under construction.

We were able to land in kolkata, even though a tremendous storm had been blowing since midnight last night. It’s a warm rain but comes down on sheets. The roads are rivers.

At the Oberoi Grand Hotel, rain hits my windows, and the palms sway in the wind. I am glad to be safely inside.

It’s a heritage hotel that once served as a guest house for British visiters in the 1800s. During World War II, the British took it over to house military. It has a fascinating history, and perhaps tomorrow I’ll take a free tour of the hotel. It’s huge, taking up an entire city block. It is very good to have such comforts after the Bhutan visit.

I had planned to go to the India Museum, but it is closed on Monday, and it was raining too hard on any case. Bored, I went down to the lobby to see if there was a shop and found out that a special exhibition was open on the mezzanine. Booth upon booth displayed clothing from India’s fashion designers. The festival of Diwali is coming up, and crowds of women shopped,  looking for something festive for the holiday.

Most of the clothes reeked of gold and glitz, way too gaudy for my taste, but I had fun looking with the rest of them.

I spent quite a bit of time with these three guys, from the company Shunya Batik, whose booth displayed kantha and batik done by villagers west of Kolkata. 

This batik is based on sketches of villagers. 

It’s amazing to realize that each image was waxed several times to allow the layering of dyes. The faces remind me of India’s vitality.

Tomorrow if the rain lets up some, I’m off to the museum.