Mother Teresa's mission is known all over the world, but there are other incredible characters who have given their lives to work amongst the poor of Calcutta.
One of these is commonly known a s 'Doctor Jack'. Jack Preger himself is of an Orthodox Jewish background and completed his medical training in Dublin after doing PPE at Oxford. After first heading out in 1972 to Bangladesh following a radion appeal for doctors he ended up in Calcutta.
He began issuing free prescriptions to the very poorest on Calcutta's streets. The work has expanded slowly, and now the organisation is known as "Calcutta rescue". He has tended to keep a somewhat low-profile as the Indian goverment have not exactly supported his presence - mainly due to the protest he has organised concening Bangladeshi children who have mysteriously disappeared.
It is a cause that is well worth your support.
Also note the very clever bags that prescriptions are put into - giving instuctions on dosage to to illiterate.
Visit Darjeeling in the north of West Bengal
The easiest way to go to Darjeeling is to take a plane to Bagdogra and go from there with the bus or car.
If you like trains you can go by train. In 1882 is an extension of the Northern Bengal State Railway completed, so you can make the climb of 2.000 M over 90 KM in 9 hours.
Darjeeling is spectacalor situated at a ridge of 2.000 M with fantastic views at the peaks of the Himalaya. Darjeeling is an easygoing city, you can have nice walks in and around town or make longer trekkings.
For more information, tips and pictures I invite you to visit my State of West Bengal page.
Taxi Driver Scheme #1
My driver arrived and I got in the taxi. For some unexplained reason, another man was also next to him in the front seat. We left the hotel courtyard and immediately, the driver started trying to swindle me for as much money as he could get!
His first scheme was to ask if I wanted him to turn on the air conditioning. It was a typically insanely hot day in India so I said "Sure, if you have it." So we rolled up the windows and he flipped it on. Then, he asked me where we were going although he had obviously already been informed about this by the hotel staff who had obtained his services. I said, "to the aiport, as quick as possible", as I had little time left to catch my flight. Then he says, "500 rupees!" I said, "What?? The hotel staff said only 200!" Then he said it was higher because of the air con. Somehow he had conveniently forgot to mention that when he politely asked if I wanted the air con earlier. I said he better turn off the air con since I wasn't paying more than 200. So he turned off the air con and we all rolled down our windows again... Then he explained that with the air con, it should be double the price. Hmm, so I guess around these parts, 500 is double of 200, interesting...
Oh Calcutta, who else!!
Your search for best Bengali food ends here! It can be summed up in just one line for Oh Calcutta! This one is part of Restaurant Chain started by The Mainland China group started by Bengali Entrepreneur Mr.Anjan Chatterjee , who belongs to Kolkata. Today, they are doing business in millions. In about ten years of their operations in Kolkata, they have become darling of Kolkata Bengali's as well as who wants to savor authentic genuine Bengali food, while visiting Kolkata. Now they are running Oh Calcutta at two places in Kolkata. The one is at Forum Mall at Elgin Road the other one is at Silver Spring Mall at E.M. Bypass, near I.T.C.Sonar Bangla hotel. We have been frequenting this place for long time also taking our friends from abroad there, but I realised, I have never have built a tip on them. So here is the new tip.
This place is also frequented by many European and Japanese, who wants to savor authentic Bengali food while in Kolkata. Rakhi's brother, sister in law and their son is in Kolkata for sometime, so we took them to Oh Calcutta for Bengali lunch on last Sunday. In many Bengali houses most of the dishes cooked but not all of them are perfect. There are some forgotten dishes as well which can be savored there only as the ingredients are expensive and not easily available. If it is available then cooking method is not know to everybody as the families have now become nucleus, grandma's recipe is missing. More so those who live abroad, they have almost forgotten the real Bengali taste. It's a real boon for them. They offer Sunday buffet and a la carte dishes as well. You can name any Bengali dishes it will be there made to perfection as the cooks have been trained well. Many of the forgotten dishes made with small fishes are also on the menu.
We had Sunday Buffet spread with Sorshe fish( fish in mustard sauce), Manghsor Jhol( Mutton curry cooked in Bengali style), Chngri Macher Malai curry( Prawn Curry), Crab curry, Chicken Curry cooked with mustard gravy, rice, chapati, and many other. I could take all were on the menu. Besides they had at least 6 types of Bengali sweets as desserts ,like Rossogolla, Payasam, Sandesh, Fresh Fruits apart from ice cream. In all it can be summed up it was a grand feast!
They also offer one drink free with Sunday buffet made with Baccardi or regular cold drink, all for Rs450/ - plus VAT , it's a steal!
Continental Dining Will Never Be Same Again!!!
"Sizzling Sizzlers, Delicious Pork, Chicken and Lamb from the Continent. It's Comics, the new Continental Restaurant, just two minutes from Menoka Cinema. Come savour the best continental cuisine in a unique ambience. " Well we experienced it today( Sunday 26th August) afternoon at lunch, and we can very well confirm that a single word is not untrue!! Well folks and our VT friends our wait for the good Continental food is over. It is now available in Kolkata at a very affordable price with excellent ambience. Its' purely a family joint with good crowd and food is just superb. They serve all types of continental foods which will delight our friends from the continent and the Bengali crowd as well. Bengalies are said to be very adoptive about food when it comes to taste.
We also had the opportunity to meet the two young entreprenures Mr.S.Ramani and Mr. Aninda Palit, who are the owners of this place. They realized sometimes back that the city of Kolkata lacks good Continental eatery at affordable price. The two dreamers just put their dream into reality and we ????? Our dreams are realized too. Calcutta has many places which offers continental food but at affordable price? It was a big no. But now our friend from the continent can have the food of their choice at this place. Though it will be slightly far from Sudder Street where most of the foreigners stay, they can take Metro and can get down at Ravindra Sarovar station and then just walk down to Comics. Believe me it will be an wonderful experience, with personal touch from Mr.S.Ramani and Mr.Aninda Palit. They will make sure that you won't go un- satisfied. We also discovered that both Mr.Ramani and Mr.Palit also stay in Golf Green Complex, where we also stay. They also run two ohter places 6 Ballygunge Place and Grand Trunk Road in Kolkata. We had Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad ( Rs.155 or USD 4.5 with tax), Mixed Grill Sizzler ( Rs.275 or USD 8 with tax) and Munu had Casper's Choice a mocktail ( Rs75 or USD 2 with tax). With time to come we shall try to visit this more often and explore the other dishes as well.
We are sure with time this place will attract more and more people who love variety eating. I will also suggest Mr.Ramani and Mr.Palit to make arrangemet for Draught Beer, which goes well with Continental food.