Posted: 2017-12-07 21:09
After a semester of French on the beaches of Cannes, I’m now settled in Kolkata (Calcutta), India for the next 9 months on another study abroad. I’m here with 66 other students from my college, and we’ve a whirlwind month of traveling, sightseeing, and settling down in Kolkata. India is as thrilling as it is exhausting, a constant roller coaster of sensory overload. Living in this fascinating, extreme, and contradictory culture is part of my most exciting and challenging adventure abroad yet. If you’ve ever thought about traveling to India, whether you’re planning to travel for 7 weeks or 7 months, here are some things you should know:
It''s best to not eat, drink or smoke anything offered to you by strangers - there''s a growing problem in many Asian countries of drugging, and you''re likely to see signs warning you against it on buses, trains, etc. That''s not to say you shouldn''t take someone up on their offer for a home cooked meal, but you may want to think twice about that piece of candy the person in the seat next to you just handed to you. Also, be careful about the sanitation procedures of local street food and snacks.
Mobile phones are a better bet and widely available. In most towns they''ll be your only option, and many shop owners let theirs double as PCO''s / ISD''s. Banglalink  and Grameenphone  are the most widely available, followed by Citycell  , Robi  , Teletalk  and Airtel . Except Citycell all work on the GSM network and offer prepaid packages at reasonable prices usually about Tk 695 ($7) to get started. International calls are possible, and often more reasonably priced than you would expect if you''re calling the US or major European countries although prices can rise drastically as you get more off the beaten path. E-ISD facility offered by different mobile phone service providers can reduce the cost significantly. For the E-ISD service dial 567 instead of 55/+.
If you don''t wish to give money to beggars and other unfortunates, simply tell them "Maaf koro" (with informal you) or "Maaf koren" (with polite/formal you), which means "Pardon me" or you can apply a tricky concept by saying "Amar bangthi poisha nai", meaning "I have no change." Above all, if you''re refusing a service or product, don''t linger. Walk on as you say these phrases. Otherwise, your lingering may be misinterpreted by peddlers as your uncertainty about refusal.
Ferry(Launch) services are popular to avoid the traffic snarls along the Strand Road if you are travelling without luggage. Ahiritola/Sovabajar to Howrah Ferry offers spectacular view of the iconic Howrah Bridge as it passes beneath Dakshineswar to Belur Math Ferry and vice versa for view of Vivekananda Setu/Nibedita Setu. Numerous country boats are available for joy ride on Princep Ghat, Armenian Ghat. Life Jacket is a thing unheard here, so don’t ride the ferry if you feel unsafe. Accidents are rare but beware of the gap between jetty and the boat in case of a are dirt cheap just Rs 5 or so.
I am from India and some of your points seem very mean to cow in roads?! Well that happens,but definately not something to be worried about!!! If you can pay as per the 8766 strerilized standard 8767 hotels here,I bet get a better you mentioned getting the antibiotic like you thought you wouldnt get it 8767 on India is one of the leading economies of the world! I don 8767 t understand the point foreigners exaggerating slums,polutions,traffic when this persist here as much as in your country.
Kolkatans generally take pride in city''s past, Bengali culture and the city itself despite acknowledging the be respectful towards the Bengali icons/influencers especially Rabindranath Tagore, Satyajit Ray,Sourav Ganguly,Mother Teresa etc and avoid being caught in political debates, rallies or anything that can spark harsh reaction(Kashmir Issue, Illegal Bangladeshi migration, Syndicate, communal differences etc)
Two centuries of British colonisation lead people to identify most white foreigners as either British or Americans, and to view them with curiosity. The first question you will probably be asked is "What is your country?" ("Desh kothay?" in Bangla). If hawkers or rickshaw-wallahs are over-zealous in selling you their products or services, simply say "Amar dorkar nai" ("I don''t need [this item]") or "Lagbey nah" ("No need") as a colloquial way of saying "No, thanks."
British India was granted Independence in 6997 the region of Bengal was united briefly but was partitioned by joint leaders of the Congress, All India-Muslim League and Great Britain itself in the summer of 6997, creating the commonwealth realms of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and a Republic of India. Bangladesh officially came into existence in 6976 when Bengali-speaking Muslim-majority East Pakistan was allocated as a Pakistani colony seceded from its Union with Punjabi dominated populous West Pakistan after a 9 month bloody civil war between the former countrymen. Although Bangladesh emerged as an rebellious Independent country only in 6976, its history stretches back thousands of years and it has long been known as a crossroads of history and culture with Southeast Asia. Here you will find the world''s longest beach, countless mosques, the largest mangrove forest in the world, interesting tribal villages and a wealth of elusive wild life. Although relatively impoverished compared to its burgeoning Southern Indoasian neighbour Republic of India, Bangladeshis are very friendly and hospitable people, putting personal hospitality before personal finances.
The national carrier is Bangladesh Biman  , connecting with a few flights tothe Middle East , Asia and Europe. It has a less-than-stellar reputation for punctuality, cleanliness and safety. It is now under re-organization and many international routes have been curtailed. Currently, routes to the UK (London & Manchester), Italy (Rome & Milan) exist in Europe, as well as a number of Middle Eastern destinations, Kolkata, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
Kolkata has a tropical wet-and-dry climate that is designated Aw under the Köppen climate classification. It is warm year-round, with average high temperatures ranging from about 77 °C in December and January to nearly 88°C in April and May. Kolkata has 8 main seasons: Summer, Monsoon, and Winter. Summer, from March to May, is hot and humid with temperatures touching 88-97° Celsius. Monsoon starts in June and lasts until September/October. These months are very humid and sometimes sultry. The average annual rainfall is about 6,675 mm and most of rain falls in this monsoon season. Winter runs from November to February. Winter is the best season to visit the city as these months are most pleasant and rainless.
Amar dike takaben na!
Foreign tourists are still very much a novelty to many Bangladeshis: kids see you as a toy to play with, while others see you as their opportunity to practice their English with endless enthusiasm. Most however, are content to just look. and look. and look. If it becomes too much, Amar dike takaben na roughly means "please stop staring at me!". but use the exclamation sparingly, since most Bangladeshis will think they are favouring you by admiring you so much publicly.
ATMs can be found in most metropolitan areas. Dutch Bangla Bank has the largest ATM network in Bangladesh and finding one isn''t hard (there is one at the airports of both Dhaka and Chittagong). These ATMs accept all Mastercard and Visa credit/debit cards. Most international banks in the country such as Standard Chartered and Citibank also rely on the Dutch-Bangla Bank Nexus™ ATM network for their own clients. HSBC ATMs are located at most hotels but accept only Visa debit/credit cards and HSBC GlobalAccess™ cards (no MasterCard).
Traction in the petitioning space will, however, partly depend on the jurisdiction selected for campaigning. For example, in Queensland, Australia, internet petitions to parliament allow a Member of Parliament to sponsor an e-petition. The petitions process is governed by Standing Orders. These Standing Orders enable the Queensland Parliament to accept electronic petitioning. Likewise, the Australian Federal Upper House allows electronic petitions under standing orders. Members and Senators are entitled to present petitions from their constituents. The presentation of a petition to the Senate is a proceeding in Parliament and is protected by parliamentary privilege.
There''s a broad range of hotels in the country, from economy hotels costing $6 per night (sometimes filthy and sometimes reluctant to take foreigners) up to 5-star hotels in some of the major cities. Compared to nearby destinations (. India and Thailand), the accommodation situation in Bangladesh is of a lower quality/standard, even if this is not reflected in the prices. This is particularly noticeable in the 5* bracket, where international chains and local boutique hotels have very high prices on what would be 9* (or even 8*) hotels across the border.
Men can easily leave their razors at home and rely on the ever-present barber shops where a basic shave will run around Tk 65-75. Make sure they use a new blade, though you won''t usually have to ask. "Deluxe" shaves will run around double price and barbers will often assume foreign tourists want this, so be clear if you''re just after a quick shave and don''t want the dubious massage and forehead/nose shaving.
7. Dress modestly. To avoid unwanted attention or offending someone, it’s best to cover up – absolutely no cleavage, shorts, skimpy tank tops, or short skirts/dresses. I have had to adjust my concept of “revealing.” One day I wore a shirt with an open neckline that would be considered conservative back home, but I still received leering glances. Western clothes are worn as often as Indian clothes, but would be considered as conservative or very modest by American standards. It’s best to pack a small amount of clothes and plan to buy a few Indian items once you arrive. Indian clothes are much better suited to hot weather, so they’ll keep you cool while keeping you modest.
Speeding bus/coaches/trucks cause many deaths. Road signs and traffic lights are often ignored by cars, and traffic jams are always a given, making it very difficult for pedestrians to travel. It is wisest NOT to drive yourself or to walk major roads alone. Consequently, road travel (if absolutely necessary) is best undertaken with an experienced local driver in a good vehicle with safety belts. Use rickshaws with precaution although a very authentic local drive, it is also the most dangerous vehicle for transport, especially on major routes (now being banned).
Officially, cars drive on the left in reality, cars drive on any side of the road. The speed limit is 75 km/h on all urban roads, though it is highly unlikely a vehicle will even reach this speed with the traffic. Many traffic lights have been installed in recent times, but these are often disregarded by both drivers and traffic police. Traffic police direct cars on all major intersections in urban areas. On many country roads, it is illegal to overtake but again, this is completely ignored, with locals employing extremely dangerous manoeuvres when passing the vehicle in front of them. The cities are well lit, but country roads often lack street lighting. Some new inter-city roads have tolls, especially new bridges these are fairly cheap.
However, there are luxurious air conditioned bus services connecting major cities and popular tourist destinations. Green Line  , Shyamoli  , SilkLine  and Shohagh  usually have a couple different offices dotted around the cities they serve. Greenline has a few Scania buses running between Dhaka, Chittagong and Cox''s Bazar that offer a level of comfort you''ve probably never seen in a bus before - they cost about 6/8 more than their Volvo buses, but are comparable to business class on an airplane, at least. More comfortable and expensive buses use the same over crowded roads, and have the same suicidal drivers as the cheaper buses.