Where is Sonagachi?

Yes, Kolkata, the largest red light district in Asia. Believe it or not, I went there just for curiosity... Anyway, I found it's not easy for foreigners to find the place quickly. There is no "Sonagachi" the point on Google Map. To google the name, all the results are not quite clear.

Sonagachi is located in North Kolkata near the intersection of Chittaranjan Avenue and Shobhabazar with Beadon Street.
-- You will not find "Shobhabazar with Beadon Street".

about one kilometer north of Kolkata's Marble Palace area.
-- It's true, but it does not mean you could find it.

from sova bazar metro station Sonagachi is 3 minutes walking distance.
-- Also true, but which direction?

The GPS coordinate on Wikipedia is not accurate as well. Actually, the red light district is not very large as you imagine. The central brothels area is smaller than any large casino in Las Vegas. Especially in daytime - maybe you are afraid to visit at night - most of the brothels seem no difference with other buildings. Walking on the street over 34 Celsius, guessing whether the lady walking around you is a prostitute. What an absurd adventure, I talked to myself.

It took me more than 2 hours seeking between Marble Palace and Sova Bazar, till I give up to find it via Google. I tried to take a tu-tu Taxi: "Sonagachi? Women?" Surprisely (but I like it), many Taxi refused to drive me there. Some of them just showed me the direction. Then I kept walking and asking, finally I found it.

20150602_sonagachi_map

The main streets of the red light district are Gdurgacharan Miira St and Abinash Kabiraj St. In each alley you can see many brothels and pimps and prostitutes, but they are not very far from the main streets.

Considering the street names always change in India. I think the correct GPS coordinates should be < N22.5929 E88.3618 >.

Sonagachi is dangerous, with its HIV rates and some blackmail issues in the deal. But it is not so dangerous if you just want to have a look. The district is close to city central. On Gdurgacharan Miira St there are food and grocery stores. Many local people live there as a normal India busy area. At the crossing of the two main streets, policemen sit aside the shrine, with or without uniform, but it seems they are just to prevent violence.

Following my instruction, two young girls in my hotel visited Sonagachi at the same night. Of course they gained a lot of weird eyesight. Anyway, at least on main streets, they were secure.

FIS2015002G0602-1680

N43E84 @ confluence.org

四年后突然想起来那个踩整数点的网站叫什么了(我以前搜过一堆GPS integer之类的关键字都没找到。。。):confluence.org。匆匆把当年踩巴音布鲁克的帖子翻译了几段贴上去,正在审批ing。

N43E84 @ confluence.org
-----------------------------------------

N43 E84, Bayanbulak Grassland, Xinjiang, China

The point locates about 3.5km away from the nearest road - G217 national highway. The 1089km long "national" highway is just a stony path in this section. The way acrosses mountains, and it was interrupted due to road slides so we had to push the cars over the stones when I came to Bayanbulak two days ago. Anyway it's only 10km from the village, so I could put the backpack in the village, hitched a local truck to the nearest roadside (N42.58'19" E84.1'20"), and took the short tour.

I crossed two fences in the way. It seems I walked over a range, but there's no sheep, cow or any people in this season. After 50 minutes I got the point. It's about 2500m in altitude above sea level. I could see the snow mountains very clearly.

It was not a very happy walking. The scene was definitely beautiful. On the grassland there were many wild flowers. Some brooks hided in the grass until you found them 5 meters away. The water flowing from the mountains was clean and sweet... The problem was, in this dry hot summer, every minute walking on the grassland, there were always more than 10 huge flies around me. Their noise drove me crazy. Sometimes I killed all of them near the brook, but one minute later I was rounded by another lot.

N43E84

是两年前的片段了。06年这个时候,在新疆。当时网上有个踩整数点的活动:跑到整数经纬度坐标的位置上,拍照留念。网站的地址如今已经忘了,只记得国内西边大部分还是空白,于是旅途中也就存了这个念想。之前在麦盖提踩N39E78未遂,后来踩到了N43E84,回来后却又懒了起来,底片和半篇文字扔在硬盘里。趁着还没被某人的游记刺激到,翻出来晒晒太阳。


巴音布鲁克,天鹅湖

N43E84,巴音布鲁克草原,中国新疆

昨天从库车公路搭车过来的时候,测得路上离N43E84最近的地方,距离还有3.5km。下着大雨,公路虽然是217国道,但平时几乎没有车,路况很差,都是坑。山里塌方的路段,切诺基可以冲,桑塔纳就要众人推过去。再往前10km到巴音布鲁克村,随后去另一方向50km外的天鹅湖(N42.50'6" E84.18'32")睡下。第二天回来的时候,在离村子不到1km的地方下车,拐上库车公路,往回走,10min后搭上车,回到昨天的最近点,N42.58'19" E84.1'20"。


G217,路边

四面都是雪山,云把山顶缭绕起来。目标点在西北方向,北偏西30度左右,再往北偏一些有个小村庄。北边的山看起来不远,仿佛3.5km后就能爬上去一样,考虑到心理视差,距离应该在5km左右。向草原走进去,前几天在沼泽地,teva凉鞋基本上已经废掉了,当拖鞋穿,速度大约4.7km/h。

草原上不时见洞穴,可能是狐狸或旱獭。偶尔两道车辙划过。距目标点2.3km的地方,翻过牧场的铁丝网。1km后,翻出铁丝网。

50分钟后,到,海拔高度约2500m。北边很近的地方,是一堆雪山,不到2km,南边很远的地方,是一大片雪山,西边是山间的草原,独库公路在延伸,东边山后是巴音布鲁克村子。


几百米外好像有个小屋,走过去。

不时有各种花。

东边70m有条小溪,九曲十八弯。山上流下来的溪流很多,都藏在原野中,走到十几米近的地方才会发现。

东边三百多米的地方,是废弃的羊圈。旁边的"小村庄"没有人,一间小屋和破烂的围墙,估计只有放牧的时候才有人暂住。

回来在路边等了一个多小时的车。整个过程中十几只蚊蝇围着我转,指肚大的红头蝇绿头蝇,也不避人,直接往脸上撞,在小溪边捏死了十几只,向前走没多远又是一群。烈日下几个小时,一直在耳边嗡嗡地响,吵的我精神快崩溃。

GPS tips

如今买GPS的小白越来越多,经常被人聒噪,写点东西科普一下:

狭义的GPS,是指接收器获取n颗卫星的信号,分析后得出当前位置的坐标值这一过程。其它如测速、测里程、测面积、在地图上标出位置、提醒你炮楼在向前三个路口左转....都是把得到的信号进一步计算后实现的额外功能,和卫星信号本身无关。

所以同一系列中的不同型号,如Magellan eXplorist,尽管各款的功能、价格相差很多,但因为接收器内核是同一结构,所以在信号接受方面,性能是一样的。

一般我们说的GPS,是指美国国防部卫星导航定位联合计划局管理的那套GPS系统。托美帝国主义的福,这套系统的民用信号是开放不收费的。所以GPS只是买设备的一次性消费,不存在什么月租费服务费之类的事情。即使有,也和信号本身无关。可能是正版地图的更新费用,可能是另外使用无线电发送坐标从而统一管理车辆的通信费用,可能你被奸商骗了,也可能你用的根本就不是我们所说的GPS。

GPS只接受信号,不发送信号,所以不存在电磁辐射,也不会让其它人知道你正在哪里接受信号,除非你用其它方式把你的坐标发给别人,或者你用的根本就不是我们所说的GPS。

GPS是短波信号,只有让接收器无阻挡露天直对着卫星才能收到信号。所以GPS室内是不能用的!(小白们问的最多的问题)户外也要看情况,高楼大厦中的天空面积,显然不如沙漠草原找星星方便。车厢里...基本也是不能用的。有人说某款GPS当年在车窗边都有信号怎么这一款就不行?这个和GPS质量无关,取决于当时现场条件以及人品。

汽车挡风玻璃下是可以的,传说有些金属贴膜的玻璃会影响信号,需要外置天线,但我还没遇见过。挡风玻璃下看到的天空面积,和车厢里完全不是一个概念。所以不要在座位上拿着手持机嘀咕怎么还不如车载的。

多云、雷雨天气、玻璃的阻挡,通常不会影响GPS的使用。运行过程中偶尔钻个地道,从软件上也能保持信号的连续而不会导致完全丧失信号从头再来。但GPS刚刚开机寻找卫星的时候,最好是保持静止的状态,否则找到信号的时间会大大增加。手持机钻进车里刚开机就和一直在运行状态的车载机比信号,显然会失望。

车载GPS分两种,一种把接收模块和地图软件做在一起,另一种则分开,通过蓝牙或数据线相连。后者由于能够自由选择性能更好的GPS模块,貌似性价比更高一些。其实如果能够搞定地图软件的话,这套系统完全可以用GPS模块 + PDA/手机来实现。

事实上绝大多数车载GPS的接收性能不如一般的手持机。即使是传说中的sirf3芯片,也为了提高灵敏度,而牺牲了相应的精度和稳定性。一些经典的手持机款式,如Garmin eTrexMagellan eXplorist,如果拿到手把玩一番抱怨信号不好,那么绝对不是因为它的质量不如另外的某款,而是你用的方法不对,或者你期望太高。

车载和手持的适用范围不同,功能上基本不具备可比性。车载/模块远不如手持机结实,手持机不如车载屏幕大软件详尽。手持机也可以通过数据线接电脑,也有附件可以做到点烟器供电蓝牙输出,但终归不便利。还是期望哪款经典的手持机能加装内置蓝牙模块的说。