February 7 2009
John filled his commitment and gave the rest of the presentations on floating structures while I took on the mammoth task of packing all our stuff so we would not stumble across John’s business suits and library of heavy books, new plaques, a book on Hindu beliefs and an elephant given to him by his students, on our daily business of cavorting around. He has a separate case now for this trip, but I still have my winter clothes for England at the bottom of mine.
We head for the station at 6:00 pm for the eight o’clock train. We arrived an hour and a half early to find the platform lined up with hundreds of people waiting for the train. And I mean lined up. They were in a neat queue with their bags, bundles, boxes and children trying to insure that they would get a seat. Ours was reserved so we could hang back and watch our bags.
John is trying to read the posting that told us where our reserved seat was. The porter had at least 80lb of our luggage on his head. The porter wanted us to lift the third suitcase onto his head but we couldn’t do it.
When the train came the line quickly progressed and it is hard to understand how so many people could get on just two carriages. It was orderly until someone tried to jump the line and then there was all sorts of words flying and the interloper went off down the platform. After about 300 people had passed us to board a policeman (perhaps the same one who told me I was not allowed to take pictures) broke in and said the rest of the people had to go to the other end of the train. The line curled and then broke up into a scramble and disappeared.
Now we had access to our reserved air-conditioned sleeping compartment. There were four beds: a couple of young Swedes were to share with us.
The train pulled out just 5 minutes late and we bought a tin dish of spicy rice from a vender walking through the carriages. My vegetarian one cost 25 rupee or 50c and John’s with a leg of chicken in it was all of 80c
The steward promised to wake us up so we could disembark at 5:00 am.
I woke up every hour and noted the changing scenary and at last went to sleep