Published: October 31st 2011October 24th 2011
So we started our 28hr train ride with no one basically on the train and thought that it would be wonderful it if stayed like that – how wrong we were! It took about 20 minutes and 2 train stations to completely fill the carriage up with a mixture of bags, toys, and generally other rubbish that the Indians like to travel with, and of course the multi Indians that also get on (book one seat and then have 3 people sitting/sleeping on it). I just don’t know how they get away with it! But there we go!
The actual journey was alright and waking up in the morning after a relatively quite night we both felt like we were alright and refreshed. Sitting up on the top bunks for most of the day and gorging on the plentiful amounts of food that comes round by the train service blokes (a total mixture of water and spiced breads to omelets and chi all day long!) All you can do is eat and sleep for most of the day but its great to stick on the music and watch the world go past on the train. Its funny how you will be in the middle of nowhere and then train slows or even stops for a bit to look out the window at someone sitting 5 feet away having a shit beside the train track – it must have been an unlucky incident I thought for the train to stop there just at that time but as the journey progressed, I lost count of the amount of people I saw squatting!!!!!
We arrived at 10pm in Hyderabad and felt quite drained. We got a ric-shaw to the hotel after them trying to totally rib us off, which we knew that they would do – but not to that extreme!! Should have been 50 rups and they were quoting 400!!!!!
We found this hotel and it was alright and as it was only for the one night we decided to just stay. A good sleep and a massive breakfast of eggs and toast we had a walk into the park and readied ourselves for another night train to Chennai. We decided to have a massive lunch as well and we wouldn’t not need to have dinner on the train – this is as the best decision. Close to our hotel was a busy place of locals and when we had a look in they were serving up massive plates of rice and all for 60-80 rups (was enough to feel 2-3 people for one plate!) We shared a bryani and a butter masala paneer which is a cheese dish and very sweet. We both just about managed to eat it but it was on of the best meals that we have had in India and so tasty too!
Back on the train we found that it was not as full (the right mount of people per seats) but they guy opposite just kept staring at us both for hrs. It got to the point of being very uncomfortable and then him and they guy next to him started talking to us. It turns out the staring guy was a physics lecturer, which is a good job and he should have know better to not keep looking at us like that! But after we started talking he just seemed to be fascinated by us and kept asking questions . The journey got much better from that point and sleep quickly followed and 7am we had arrived in Chennai.
Some stations have pre-paid taxi booth so you don’t get ripped off by them saying all sorts of stuff like the hotel has closed or that the road in only one way and they have to charge more money! So paying for our fair and the bloke saying that he knew where the hotel was – a 15 minute drive away! After stopping 3 times and then asking the police the directions – we finally managed to get there and he had the cheek to demand more money as he had got lost!!?!?!?!?! So we gave him what we should have and told him not to say yes to places that he didn’t know where they were!!!
The place was alright and at 300 rups with a TV included – we couldn’t go wrong!!! We decided that we were going to have a nice walk along the beach and have a chilled out day from all the traveling and eat some more good food. Gobi Manchurian and fried rice was the dish of the day which had a slightly Chinese taste which was a nice change.
The beach turned out to be a massive expanse of sand with no shade at all and being an extremely hot day we started to flag badly. We ducked under the trees that were around the side promenade bit and ate ice cream and watched the world go by! We found a museum all about some ashram bloke and he was the first person from India to bring meditation and yoga stuff to the west I think. There was a very informative TV show which I just was glad to be out of the sun and then looking round the museum – was like his life story, which we both found to be a bit funny! They then have a meditation room which they try and get you to go in and then ask for a donation for the “cause”…. Which we didn’t give!
Mamallapuram was our next destination.