November 21, 2017: A little later than the last post! Must be getting homesick…
Shower taken, breakfast ordered, weather’s turned chilly, veg omelet looks delicious, rest of the world doesn’t make those puffy watery omelets we get in the States; these are flat and browned with tiny veggies grilled quickly so nothing is runny. Nice that my stomach’s performed as ordered this whole trip—the rule is to hardly ever eat and when you do never never try anything new and interesting. Hey, it seems to work for me, I eat breakfast though so I have strength To See Interesting Stuff. I had great expectations for the Ganges and was not disappointed; I am looking forward with equal levels of anticipation to Jaisalmer with its mammoth golden fort (within which my tiny hotel is located). Today the Taj Mahal…when in Rome… I’m going to try with force and power and meanness and falling over in a dead faint if I must…to avoid having a guide. Not so easy in India. Anyway I’m sure to make a post this evening raving about the Taj Mahal.
Admittedly, one of the reasons I do this travel gig is—it’s my version of extreme sports. Some people get old and take up the Ironman Triathlon—for me it’s Indian train stations. Evening before last I took the train from Varanasi to Agra. Aside from the 6-hour delay and always knowing there’s pee on your shoes it’s not so bad. I was in 3rd class sleeper with four companionable travelers, age and apparent breadth of interests of my grandchildren, and one quiet Indian couple. Narrow berth of course but smooth ride.
It was the time getting on the train that tried my soul but apparently Indians are use to it since no one rioted or shot up the station… I actually paid a nice young guy from the hotel to go with me and help me find my train—although he was a little clueless as well. Met two interesting young Scottish cops who were the perfect train-delay friends. We had books and travel and some degree of exhaustion in common, and they were equally confused, which gave me a comforting feeling of ‘we’re all in this together.’
I did make a decision yesterday to cancel my train tickets and fly from Delhi to Jaisalmer and avoid Indian train stations forever after. Fortunately came to my senses…this is an adventure, Marjorie, I said. A physical and mental challenge. An ‘ain’t over til it’s over’ moment and I not ready for it to be over.
Now off for some sink-laundering and a day at one of the seven wonders of the world.
Travel with me now from Varanasi to Agra………….
THE STATION AND THE TRAIN
NEXT UP: THE SCENE THROUGH THE DIRTY WINDOW