here, there, everywhere

The Not So Nice Train Ride

In India on May 14, 2009 at 6:06 am

Apparently I booked my first train ride for princess package.  Not so this time, I booked on the cheap sleeper car to save money thinking it would be ok after everyone I talked to who rode it.  What train did they ride?????  Here’s the journey in time blocks:

7:20pm:  Leave hotel by autorickshaw for 1 hour 10 minute ride to train station.  Vehicle that fits 12 nationals barely fits 3 North Americans comfortably.  Driver nice, roads not.

10pm:  Train leaves station 1/2 hour late.  This is good considering this particular train is usually 5-6 hours late.  We get on our car after running up and down the length of the platform (looooong), finally find ours marked in chalk, and find a family of 6 sleeping on our beds.  I feel like a cheap white person until Dave loses it and manages to get all 6 of them out with no hassle.

1am:  Some loud obnoxious person is walking through our car, filled with maybe 200 people, clapping and yelling.  It’s a transvestite, might be pretty but very annoying.  When she gets to my bed she whips my towel off my head (it provides some privacy in a car filled with about 100 people) and fully wakes me with a slap to my head.  I slap her back and pull the towel back over my head.  Someone else pulls it off, it’s an old woman, she slaps me because I slapped the transvestite.  I slap her back and pull the towel over my head again.  She goes away.  On the bunk below me Dave is trying to sleep despite the family of three who are snuggling up next to his bum.  He beats them off.  Andrew is in the bunk above and apparently unaware of the chaos below.

6am:  The chai, food, watch, electric-wallahs have arrived and go up and down the car repeatedly yelling their respective ware “CHAI CHAI CHAI CHAI” “PAKORA PAKORA PAKORA”

8am: Can’t sleep anymore, a teeny tiny family of 10 jams into our area.  The kids heads are shaved, I think it’s because of head lice judging by how the cute little boy keeps picking at imaginary bugs on his head, placing them in his palm and smashing them with a satisfied “pow”.

9am:  We make friends with the nice 15 year old sleeping across from us.  Two others shared his bunk while he slept, unbeknownst to him.

The rest of the time we try to sleep, look out the windows, avoid the bathroom which can no longer be done due to 3 litres of water the day before.  A squat toilet on a moving train is interesting.  I’m tired and cranky until I’m walking back to my bunk when I discover you can hang out the side of the train and catch the views from there.  All of a sudden traveling is fun again.

4pm:  Have finally arrived at next major point of departure and catch a jeep, $2 for a 3 hour hair raising ride into the mountains, through tea plantations up up up on those roads you hear about in the news when buses plunge hundreds of feet, killing all inside.  It’s the best part of the trip in my opinion.

7:20pm:  Arrive in Darjeeling and despite being tired and smelling overripe, I am 100% in love with this place.

Up close and personal when you hang off a train. Somewhere between Varanasi and New Jalpaiguri, India.

Some building, don’t know what it is because I was the only one hanging off the train, no one else to ask. Somewhere in India.

You see lots of fields when you hang off a train. Somewhere in India.

Notice the blurriness indicating the truth that I am hanging on the outside of the train. Somewhere in India.

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  1. Sounds like quite the commute 😉

  2. hahahaha….i can just picture you slapping that transvestite…..hilarious…what a wonderful experience you are having

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