Wednesday dawned sunny and warmer again. It would seem the cold snap might be waning in Delhi. We shared breakfast at the hotel and spent time in prayer and debriefing then headed to the airport for an IndiGo flight to Kolkata. Getting to and through the airport was a lesson in cultural understandings of systems and efficiency. People are accustomed to crowds, no personal space and pushing, although the shuffle seems to be without malice and emotional energy. Very odd. The flight left late and we went through lines for ticketing, security, a bus to the plane, and then to get on the plane. They boarded passengers from both ends, regardless of row number, resulting in a comical traffic jam mid-cabin.
It was dusk in Kolkata when we arrived. Traffic in Delhi prepared us only minimally for the chaos of the streets of Kolkata. The taxis and buses are older (with character), and buses are stuffed full to overflowing. This paired with the way vehicles pass made me expect to see someone lose a head along the way.
We arrived at Hotel Heaven, our home way away from home for the next 6 nights. Our hotel in Dehli was clean and efficient with soft beds, multiple pillows, a blow dryer, tile floors, wifi in rooms, and housekeeping staff always present. The hotel in Kolkata is simpler, and it's interesting to watch people's reaction to less. It further prods the question about our expectations as market driven consumers. The hot water is on a switch in the bathroom. The beds don't have a top sheet. There is no box of tissues in the room. The max temperature seems to be about 21 c on the thermostat. The bathroom is humble... And somehow that makes us uncomfortable.
And so I am aware that our reaction to such different circumstances is driven by expectation. I am blessed with wonder-roomie Rebecca and she has a terminally sunny disposition and world travel experience so we are processing all of this as gift together. I commented during our debrief time yesterday that I was enjoying receiving what showed up rather than seeking out specific things. It has kept stress, disappointment and negative energy to a minimum. Praise God.
Off to see Kolkata!