Postscript to Wednesday. The Chrome's latest eccentricity is to have electronic door locks that cease to unlock. When we get back from our splendid meal we have to hang about the lobby for half an hour while the problem is fixed.
Thursday - Alarm at 6.30 so we can go to the Botanic Gardens to bird watch. Sadly R is not feeling great so ornithology is postponed. After a couple more hours kip she has recovered sufficiently to partake of some light tourism. It feels a little cooler this morning and there is a light breeze which helps the comfort level. Today has been deemed a day for treats. For Dave this means a return No 36 tram trip across the Maidan to Kidderpore. Experts will appreciate the articulation displayed to advantage on this photo.
The Maidan is a bit like Central Park but with cricket and herds of goats. Apparently it was created to ensure good fields of fire for the garrison after the Mutiny. When we get to the depot at the terminus there is excitement as D attempts to take a photo of a shiny newish looking tram. This is a big no-no. They must be reserved for politicians or the like because they never seem to be out on the street. We return on the same old rustbucket that we went out on. The conductor clearly thinks that we are mad. This expedition has added considerable extra footage for the forthcoming tram movie.
R's treat is to sit at a poolside table at the uber-expensive Oberoi Grand until a waiter arrives to inform us that we are in a residents only area. We are suitably offended and decamp to the New Cathay for refreshment. As well as their redecoration they appear to have recruited a Glaswegian chef. Poached eggs on toast turned out to be runny fried eggs with crispy bases served on fried bread. They must have run out of tattie scones.
Fortified by lunch we decided to brave the New Market. Inevitably we attract a tout, a well spoken young man who promises to find D some large size, single strap flip-flops. We are led through a maze into the basement where we are introduced to India's most incompetent salesman. After about 20 minutes of him running backwards and forwards with various items of footwear it becomes obvious that he doesn't have any. Even the tout gives up in disgust but does have the decency to show us the way out. By now most of the population of Kolkata have joined the great flip flop hunt and we are assailed by vendors from all sides. We are persuaded to look at one stall where the owner proposes to sell a pair of pre-enjoyed Nike flip flops for over £20. He is a bit put out when D tells him what to do with them. Opposite the exit to the market is a Bata shop which has the perfect item for about £4 but not in large sizes. The retail experience is beginning to pall so we decide to shoot the craw and take the metro home. The train is the quietest yet and R actually gets a seat. Between trains the TV screens in the stations show Tom & Jerry cartoons. Beats Glasgow.
Kolkata hasn't changed much in the last 11 months. Somebody has decided to paint the trees in blue and white hoops (QPR?) and has also decided to dig a foot wide trench along every pavement in the city and then part fill it with loose rubble. If I were a Kolkata ratepayer I would be fuming.
After a period of rest we headed out to a bar we had spotted for cocktails. Outside it looked quite respectable - inside it looked like an 80's disco. We sat at the bar and were handed a price list that would have frightened JP Getty. We had one small beer each and three and a half stone of complimentary nibbles. When the bill arrived it was marked down by 50% for Happy Hour. What a relief! Tonight's restaurant choice was Oh Calcutta! A bit upmarket for the likes of us but we had read good reviews. We had fish in mustard sauce (again) and Railway Canteen Special Mutton with Pilaf Rice which was absolutely brilliant.
Crack of dawn tomorrow we head off to the Sunderbans on safari. Not sure how the wi-fi situation will work out so - Watch this Space!