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The train to and from hell

As with all things India, the best it has to offer is soon followed by the worst. After a pretty spectacular few days in Jaisalmer, it was time for the 19 hour train ride to Delhi – pretty horrendous at the best of times, but with the extremely busy trains, it is important to have beds close together. For security if nothing else. To our horror, the beds were not together, but mixed up, in roughly the same area. 3 young kids, Indian train, no compartments, not together, 19 hours – parent’s nightmare.

 

curtains and more curtains

Given that these trains are notorious for thieving, and we get a lot of unwanted attention, we naturally wanted to try to get the kids close by. All was going well whilst two very kind people from Hong Kong were kind enough to swap their beds for the first 6 hours, so that we could put the kids to bed.

Then it started to get worse. The train was cockroach infested and they started to come out; first only here and there, but as the night progressed they were on the floors, up the walls next to you and on the ceilings above you, I must have killed dozens. Then the mice came out, scurrying down and around past your feet, at one point squeaking and appearing on the seat in front of us – truly horrendous.

As our HK travel friends left the train in Jodhpur at 11pm, we waited for the next passengers to alight, hoping again to swap places to see if they would also be kind enough to allow the kids to sleep in the same area, as it was approaching midnight, 3 young children fast asleep, not a safe place to be, all pretty hard work  etc. Not a chance. They turfed us out! GRRRRRRR

I can sympathise with the older couple who did not want to be on the upper bunks, but there were plenty of options for people to swap around, but unfortunately in India, very often other peoples issues are of no consequence. They booked the seats – they were going to have them. To the man in coach A1 bed 32 who gave not a damn and made our life really tough with no benefit to himself – go practice being a Buddhist.

the view is a bit compromised by the dirt - and this was after we cleaned the inside

kids having a play in what turned out not to be our cabin

We have found many lovely people who have made India very special: all the professional people, Vinish and his wife, the nice family at Kumbalgarh, the occasional person wanting to be nice and not selling something, the weaving family, our driver, Del Boy the safari man and countless others; but with a sad heart I have to say that Indian Culture has not done much for the peoples empathy; most Indians we met will push, shove and barge to make sure they are first. With a certain Darwinian self preservation they are selfish, and self centred, and if we thought they were bad with us, you should see how they are with each other. Showing gratitude is like some kind of weakness! In the cold light of day, I can completely understand, with the level of poverty, those that do not push do not survive, so the “selfishness” that we see, is actually more about life preservation.

So it came to be, that I sit here, at 4am, venting my spleen to stay awake, writing the blog in the corridor, watching down the various curtains that contain our children, fighting off numerous weirdo’s that want to take the kids blankets doing my 3 hours of night watch having just taken over from Jo. Only another 7 hours to Delhi, before we have 5 hours to kill and then another 13 hour night train to Varanasi – can’t wait – 32 hours on a train in a day and a half!

this train got the big thumbs down

 

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