I’ve been asked to add a bit more about the mechanics of the trip, so here goes:
We have been staying in ITC hotels. Turns out ITC stands for Indian Tobacco Company, which has diversified by buying what had been Sheratons. They remain Starwood, but the Sheraton name seems to be disappearing one by one. In Kolkata we are at a Kenilworth Hotel. Because these hotels cater to an international clientele they have amazing breakfast buffets. Everything from lettuce salads, cold cuts, cheeses, Danish, porridge (delicious everywhere), omelets-to-order, baked beans, broiled tomatoes, one morning creamed mushrooms, even, yogurts and corn flakes and toast…plus a full array of Indian food, both northern (what we see primarily in the US) and southern. Made-to-order dosas, exceedingly thin rice flour pancakes with filling and without, and typically with 3 or 4 chutneys–coconut, tomato, mint/coriander, and sometimes “railway” which is my favorite and not just because of the name. Various other Indian dishes with potato, cauliflower (in season now, and two-wheeled horse carts heaped with cauliflower are common), and other vegetable mixtures. Sharp-tasting soups. Idli (rice cakes) and parathas. Noodles with peas. Rice, always. Fresh and canned juices (so marked), with watermelon juice being quite common but also mango and orange. Suffice to say we have ample choices and perhaps a bit surprising, the food is fantastic. We start every day extremely well fed.
Food–dishes and restaurants–are either “veg” or “non-veg”, with non-veg meaning almost always chicken but also mutton/lamb. Everything is labeled, and, for example, because croissants have an egg wash they are noted to be non-veg. The McDonalds’ serve no hamburgers, but instead chicken and fish, as well as “Spicey Paneer!” sandwiches. Paneer is everywhere. Paneer tikka has turned out to be a theme of the trip–we have had it many times, and always a little different, always great. Well, perhaps the paneer tikka on the plane wasn’t so great, but it was certainly edible.
Hotel rooms have mostly been very quiet with comfortable beds and well appointed, though the array of electrical arrangements is broad. Fortunately David brought the right combinations of plugs so we’ve always been able to charge phones, etc. Sitting in Kolkata, I will describe the set-up in this particular room: A wall socket with various holes and switches, to which is attached one converter, to which is attached a second converter, to which is attached a Belkin charger + surge protector which has multiple US-style outlets as well as a couple of USB ports. At the moment all are in use–the 2 phones, the computer, the battery charger for the camera. Looks strange, but it functions.
Really, we have no complaints nor have we run into intractable service problems. Now, if the drivers would only stop honking…!