Video – Kolkata Zoo – cooler than we imagined!
Bella loves animals and going to the zoo, so we were happy to discover that the Kolkata zoo was right in our new neighborhood of Alipone in Kolkata (Calcutta), India.
Sunday afternoon, we set out for the zoo. Admission was cheap – only about 40 cents. We were surprised to see that the zoo was absolutely packed and had such a festive atmosphere. Thousands of people were there picnicking, playing badminton, and hanging out with their families. They brought some serious home cooked food, with real plates and everything (no need for utensils since most people eat with their fingers)…almost no one bought their food at the zoo. But they did buy “award-winning” (that’s what they called it) ice cream. It was 20 cents for vanilla, chocolate or strawberry and 40 cents if you wanted real fruit mango. It was much more delicious than other ice cream we have tried (dairy products are just not the same in India). Many people also bought popcorn, but it was very salty and had spicy powder on it also. (Later we got some super-spicy food from vendors outside the zoo, selling classic veg dishes made with beans and potatoes.)
It was great to hang out with so many local people – there we not a lot of tourists there at all. Many people came up to us to say “hello”, practice their English, ask what country we are from, etc. It’s funny how many people guess the wrong country – they have guessed Poland, Italy, Germany, Ireland, France, Norway, and someone even asked Alex if he was Arabic.
What most impressed us was how enthusiastic people were to see the lions and tigers…mostly the tigers. There cages have areas where the tigers can hide, so when they do come out…WOW! People scream with joy, whistle and press up against the cages for a better view. It was madness…but the good kind of madness where you enjoy being caught up in the moment and sharing it with people who are proud to call India home. I think national pride accounts for much of the tiger fever that we saw.
Check out the video for yourself. I had more fun watching the people than watching the tigers!