I arrived on Tuesday morning bright and early and found Kolkata airport to be quiet and restrained. No crowed of Taxi drivers calling, just a few people milling about and some sunshine. I expected to come out into a furnace but tropical heat doesn’t seem to be like that. Its not like the Nevada desert where you feel you’ve been sandwiched in a George Foreman grill, it is more subtle. It feels comfortable and then you realise something is bothering you and you realise you are HOT! Very very hot. However, AC is everywhere, although I am practising at doing without because the forest next week is unlikely to be airconditioned!
Parthib and his student Priya met me at the airport and whisked me off the guest house where I am staying. Its about a 15 minute walk from the University. Its light and airy with everything I need. They are massively looking after me. After a couple of hours sleep (I had managed 6 in the last 48 hours) I went to the University and met other students in the ecology lab (see pictures). It is great fun working with these guys, they are all involved in fascinating ecological studies out in remarkably remote areas. They couldn’t have been more welcoming and I feel quite at home.
We haven’t been biding our time though. On the second day Parthib and I did some of the official buisness, formally signing the agreement between GWCT and University of Calcutta with the Registrar and obtaining official permissions from the Vice-chancellor etc. Will post photos when I have sorted my card reader out. The main campus, where the VC is based is the original building. Incredibly grand, with an ENORMOUS marble staircase. It is the oldest University in India, originating in colonial times. Apparently it has over 60 buildings scattered around Kolkata, all donated by wealthy alumni.
For the last two days I have got up early to work on UK stuff, gone into the lab at about 10.30 and then returned to the guest house at about 7.30 to finish UK bits while everyone is still at work. Tomorrow I am determined to walk around a bit – i now know how to walk to the uni so I might try and make it through the heat in the morning. Will post pics tomorrow.
Tomorrow we have the first workshop for project holders in London. Then only two days to go and I fly to Kolkata!