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Member since: Fri Apr 28, 2006, 11:13 PM
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Calcutta festival part 2 (more pics)

So now that the winds and rain seem to have died down, we went to see some more pandals (the temporary temple/diorama things they build for them). The only sign of the storm was a few fallen trees, the occasional downed tent, and some bands of heavy rain that came out of nowhere.

This first one is made entirely out of recycled plastic:

"Green" awards go to the pandals with the least amount of litter

This one is made out of local wood.

Despite the intricate carvings, this will be torn down and thrown away by the end of the week.

This pandal, by the times of India, was made to look like a library. I really liked it.

(That figure is the archetypal "Bengali babu", a middle-aged middle-income hyperliterate engineer or civil servant who can talk for hours about Bengali poetry but can't remember to pack his own lunch, in clothes from 175 years ago and today.)

The divine figures, rather than being statues, are presented as coming to life from the pages of books. I love that.

The banister columns are pencils.

This pandal is far more traditional:

The drummers, traditionally, are Muslim, because the drums are leather.

These beautiful figures are carved from styrofoam:

The chandelier was amazing

A smaller pandal:

The puja is a big deal socially and economically for the city and for West Bengal and Orissa as a whole (another reason the cyclone is so problematic: imagine a blizzard that lasted the entire last week of the Christmas season).

People decorate their houses with lights and flowers.

Temperatures reach into the 90s most days, so ice cream is popular

As is fresh coconut water

Most scaffolding is made from lashed bamboo and palm trunks like these (apparently it handles wind and rain better than metal or wood)

Momos (we'd probably call them dumplings or pot stickers) are a popular street food

As are jolis (hard to translate: sort of like a savory churro)

The balloon-popping carney hustle is apparently universal

Car dealerships show their new models

Cyclone bands are still passing over, so rain strikes without warning

Are strawberry Oreo's a thing in the US? They're rolling them out here.

Pepsi ran an HIV/AIDS awareness kiosk with free anonymous testing and educational material

A lot of goods are still transported inside the city this way

At current exchange rates, that's about $2 for a chili chicken and rice combo for 2.

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