Usually when we go to Puthia, we are taking a crowd of western visitors, and usually I stay home because I am peopled out or because I am the maker of that crowd’s next meal. I haven’t been the Puthia in 8 years, not since a picnic on my first trip to this country .. where I had eyes only for my soon-to-be-husband. So it was lovely to take a trip with just our family.

Some of the old palaces and such are still in good condition.

Some of the buildings are being restored, and it looks like they are doing a good job.

In an empty field, there was the beginnings of the last concert of a three day event, led by Gram Theater. It looks like it had been a superb assortment of music, dance, and drama in the traditional Bengali styles. We wish we could have found out earlier about the event . . we would have loved to go! Next time. .

Some of the grounds around the palaces are very well kept. Our kids ignored the flowers and collected mahogany seeds.

While at the final palace, we got a phone call from our landlord, who was so upset that he could hardly communicate. There was a lot of smoke pouring out of our locked apartment. We called family members, who were about ten minutes away. So it was a bit of a tense bus ride back! We heard from Elias’ grandfather that he got to our apartment and opened it with a crowd of ten people watching and following him in. He turned off a smoking pressure cooker. A soup was charred. There was no lasting damage on the walls but alot of awful smoke. All my neighbors oohed and aahed at the next-best excitement in the kitchen — my wonderful kitchen shelves. And for the next week, I answered numerous questions from numerous people about that fire. Nothing is private here!