November 1, 1961 – Thailand

Rama Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand – Clear

     Surprisingly Edith got up early this morning and didn’t seem tired.  She went down to breakfast while I stayed in bed to take advantage of having some free time this morning.  We weren’t going to fly out till this afternoon to Calcutta so we had extra time to breakfast, pack and get ready to leave.  I went down a little later to have coffee with Edith, Flo and Ethyl while they finished their breakfast.  It was nice having some time to visit and not have to worry about rushing around.

      We left the hotel and went to the airport by way of a snake farm.  It was interesting to see the King Cobra and how the handlers could make them move the way they wanted to.  I had never liked snakes but I found this all very interesting.

      At the airport we bid farewell to Mr. Herdsman, picked up our tickets and boarded our plane to Calcutta.  On our flight we were given another orchid corsage and a fan.  I asked the stewardess if they always gave them out and she told me yes, it was their tradition to hand them out on flights.  They served us sandwiches and drinks immediately after takeoff. 

      Our plane had a short stopover at Rangoon, Burma but we weren’t able to do any sightseeing there.  The Rangoon airport was very nice and we were pleased that at least it was air conditioned.  I was able to take a nice picture of the sunset before we took off again for our final destination of Calcutta.  We finally landed at 9:30pm where we had to set our watch back 1 ½ hours. 

      On the drive from the airport to the hotel we had our first glimpse of this city.   We found that the metropolis of six million people had considerable poverty and we observed so many people sleeping on the streets.  In addition we saw many white sacred cows walking aimlessly everywhere.  Once we reached the hotel it turned out to be older and didn’t match its name, the Grand Hotel.  After we checked in and went to our rooms we found our beds weren’t going to be very comfortable to sleep on.  They were clean but not very fancy at all.  I felt compelled to check under my bed, look behind it and under the sheets for cobras after I thought about the snake farm we’d seen earlier that day.

Calcutta India from the Grand Hotel

Another View of Calcutta India from the Grand Hotel

      Our view out of the bedroom window showed everything here in Calcutta wasn’t as clean as our room was.  Outside on the dirty street below I could see a family sleeping on the sidewalk and my heart broke for them.

      We joined the rest of the group in the dining room for dinner as soon as we put our things away.  We had an excellent meal and there was a pleasant atmosphere with an orchestra playing American style music.  By the time our entertainment was done it was late so we retired to our rooms to get some sleep before we had to get up in the morning.

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