Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stuck in Calcutta with the Chennai blues again

Where can Gary stay?
Letter from Calcutta

My old India friend and Carnatic music buff G. just wrote a one-line SOS signal.

I need a hotel recommendation in Calcutta - badly!!

The caption reads: "Stuck in Calcutta with the Chennai blues again."

Indeed, Cow-cutta, Kolkata or Kalighata has far fewer decent bargain hotels than most other Indian cities its size - even worse than Chennai.

Sudder Street (shudder) is full of things like Salvation Army, that's a no-brainer. But where are actual budget hotel rooms that are cheap n cheerful? Is that asking too much in the City of Eternal Twilight?

In fall 2003, I was desperately sick in Calcutta. I needed to stay in a room that didn't require steeling my stomach each time I walked through the door and enduring the stench of floor cleanser. The place I had been staying (a well-known volunteers' and backpackers' hangout) had rats running across the floor, sometimes even into the shower stalls.

Finally just around the corner on Sudder Street, I found the rooms above Super Chicken. Super Chicken is a big shiny relatively new fast-food place somewhere on the far end of Sudder, nearer to Mirza Ghalib street. There are only 6 or so rooms in this mini-hotel but they are all spotlessly clean with brand new fixtures, AC and even flat-screen TVs. Imagine my joy!

At that time the rooms were $12 a night, which was a splurge for a budget traveller. I don't think I ever could have gotten well otherwise. I can't remember the name of this place for the life of me, but I just told G. to look for Super Chicken.

Everyone, help G. and future Calcutta budget travellers! Where can G. stay? We are looking in the range of $10-15 a night. Send answers and suggestions via Comments!


John said...

BTW. What's the weather these days in Kathmandu. Is it hot and does it rain a lot, or is it still possible to wander around without too many risks of getting wet?

kp said...

What a creative blog, I found today! I was searching for Indian blogs on travel, and I found many like mine, but this is class apart. Enjoyed it v much.

aengel said...

hey :)