Edit Blog Post
Published: January 21st 2014
havnt a clue
what these are have never seen them before so if any one knows please let me know
We got dropped off at the train station and our journey began. Finding out which platform to be on is only made available a few minutes before the train leaves and then it’s a mad scramble to the correct one. In this case it was more or less going to be platform 4 and then where will your coach be? Trains are very long with many different classes – we had booked 2nd
class a/c . there is first class locking doors and comes with 2 or 4 berths, 2nd
class a/c 2 tier and 3 tier – with curtains to give you some privacy, 3rd
class same deal but no curtains, seats for express trains in two different categories and then unreserved 2nd
class with wooden or plastic seats crowded with a gazillion people but very cheap. We got some advice where to stand which was wrong and so ended up on the wrong end of the platform and then got some great help and we had a mad scramble back up the platform through the crowds to the other end of the platform. With all the chaos there is also incredible management. There are electronic signs nowadays at various intervals
we did not eat these ones but have had a few along the route and they have all been delicious
which tell you the trains number that is arriving as it comes and others that point out where your carriage will stop and it does! Then you make your way down the narrow aisle over bags and shoes. Some people have already been on this train for a night and a day looking a bit disheveled -to your berth. We had an upper and lower berth which we shared with 2 other gentlemen. One turned out to work for the railways and was on his way to some place that meant he would have to get off the train at 4am and the other was pediatric anesthetist who was going to a conference and getting off one stop before us. New clean linen arrived for us and the old ones taken away, its amazing how efficient it all is and how it works. We had a great sleep till the first guy got up to leave and switched all the bright lights on!!!! When morning comes around it starts to get busy up and down the aisles with waiters selling an array of goodies and calling out what their provisions are chai, coffee, water and cool drinks, snacks and then
breakfast, I ordered a egg sandwich which was an omelet with chilli in between two slices of soggy toast very civilised. Vijawarda station was clean and our hotel was just around the corner. This town turned out to be a great surprise and as we walked around through the markets we marveled at the cleanliness of it. Once again we saw some amazing shops and carts selling all sorts of goods. I really liked one that was so colourful with mirrors and combs and all sorts of useful stuff. We had a delicious samoosa along the way with many cups of chai which we love too. We saw a guy putting new treads on tyres by hand – looked like he was doing a lino cut (I suppose the idea is similar) We jumped on a rickshaw and went and visited a cave temple outside of town, It was lovely the view was great and the scenery before us was very pleasant with many hills, rivers and canals running through the area. In a way I wished we had more time for this town but in fact we had a 6.30 train to catch.
We got there in time
sweet little girl
sitting with her grandparents outside their shop
surprise, surprise only to find out the train was delayed a bit and then a bit longer and then even a bit longer than that all in all 4 hours later it arrived and oh we could have slept a bit longer in our nice room and had breakfast at the hotel! We did manage to watch life for those hours and its fascinating. Indians just throw everything out – on the floor if they can they just don’t seem to care. I remember from my previous visit 26 years ago that most things were wrapped in banana leaves ,string and paper. What got chucked out the cows came past and ate, Plastic bags were on their way in and I thought oh no why? Sometimes the old ways are better!! Now there are rivers of plastic, foil containers from all the food being sold and it feels like India is being buried alive under all this garbage. Firstly they need to charge people for plastic bags. I am so proud of South
Africa that has done that and its been a long time now and we can really see the difference that has made to our landscape and
I am sure it could do the same for here. But this station was incredibly clean – as soon as a train had departed railway staff were on the tracks picking up what they could recycle and then hosing down the tracks as even though on the train it says don’t use the toilets when at a station many people simply don’t care. We also got lucky as we were in 3 a/c but we got the bunks against the aisle window and there are only 2 so you can sit up straight. If you don’t know the person above you and they want to lie down then there is not much space to sit up properly in this class with 3 tiers. Time flew past I chucked out a few zzzzz’s ordered lunch - all so orderly. It was 11 am and was told lunch would be at about1 and it came as ordered. Nowadays everyone has their cell phones and laptops playing movies and music videos chatting to contacts at every opportunity.
Its always a full train cause as soon as a person gets off at a station the place is filled by a newcomer. Trains run
very full here, did I tell you how mind boggling it is to actually find the train you need from all the choices you have – fast trains, express trains some stopping lots and some hardly at all. It’s a minefield. With the time we had waiting for this train I went and got info for the next trains we were planning on taking and that would prove to be a big help.
We arrived latish in the afternoon to normal chaos which I cant find the words to describe- people everywhere feels like millions of them, things, Post, trunks of every size all waiting to be loaded or having just been unloaded. The Indians are a very patient bunch and they wait very patiently on the platforms in the waiting halls sitting on the floor in family groups often sharing some food – its almost like they have come here for a picnic. We had decided to book our onward tickets as soon as we arrived so we could get them out the way but as luck would have it the delay meant we missed the reservation office for foreign tourists as it closes early on a Sunday.
We got a pre-paid rickshaw to our hotel the Ramada on Egmore and it turned out to be a great big room views not incredible more like we can see a glimpse of the city. But it is such nice room with all the fruit we are happy. Outside around the corner it’s a bit of a shabby area and on our exploration for a restaurant we found there are many people living their lives out on the street. I am used to street people in Cape Town but here there are many whole families and they are making open fires to cook their meals in the street, sitting in groups playing games chatting sleeping on perhaps a piece of cardboard in a rickshaw or cart. Openly, casually it’s all very normal.
In the morning we made our way back to train station to sort out onward tickets. There is a foreign desk there and the agent was so friendly – once again I can’t believe how many trains they have to look through millions of people are travelling all the time sorry to go on about it but it does boggle the mind. Once we had the tickets
sorted it was booking places to stay. Its so busy here as its high season so you cant just rock up like in the past and hope a place has a vacancy for you. To be continued……
Tot: 0.107s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 9; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0184s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb