Saturday 15 November
… So here we are on the return leg home, sitting through the night at Dubai airport – time for a catch-up.
The dinner last night was a success … many wonderful and curious conversations with our Bengali guests – one lengthy discussion on the Wealth of Nations … another in response to penetrating questions such as what had motivated the Romans to invade Scotland … wits stretched within our muggle-heads; wonderful descriptions had of the country, particularly Darjeeling, friendships cemented. Nick proved something of a hit with the lady guests ….
Inspired after having come across Maj Gen ‘Hindoo’ Stuart in the South Park Street cemetery, the team re-christened James (*see below).
The jackels around the hotel surpassessed themselves last night – was convinced it was the team having a mad cackling fit, but no ….
* ‘Bengali Simpson’
As an antidote to a sweltered week of cemetery ruins a little sight-seeing today included a visit to the Victoria Memorial, the Raj’s answer to the Taj Mahal c/o the Queen-Empress revering Viceroy, Lord Curzon. This followed by market research and retail therapy in the crafts shops, markets and general dives of Calcutta … laden with goods we finally said our goodbyes to Manish, a smog-choked run to the airport during which Boula finally succumbed to road rage (refreshing to see we have something in common with these most stoic of people .. !)… final fairwell to Rajpal, Ashok and Boula and off …
Potential international incident at Calcutta airport as Steve walks through the Ladies’ security file only to be rumbled behind the screens by a formidable female guard in military fatigues whose look was glacial in the extreme ….
The majority of the team now suffering with lesser or worse ailments (many unscheduled trips to available facilities) – the long trip back is proving very hard work – but definitely not looking for sympathy upon our return ….
Once they are sorted we will be posting photos of the trip when back in Scotland (Monday or Tuesday) and some additional material – so please stay in touch….