A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about trains

Chapter twenty nine - Chennai

sunny 26 °C

Day 121: Chennai, Tamil Nadu 29/01/12

Out for breakfast at the same nice café we ate in yesterday. We try to find a hotel in Chennai and also sort out the best way to get to the airport in the morning. After lunch we grab a tuk-tuk to the train station and catch the very cheap service to Chennai. Only a couple of hours until our last dinner/evening in India…

The train is very hot, very crowded and very full of cockroaches, which all make the journey highly enjoyable. Lucky the journey is only a couple of hours long. Oh, hang on it is over eight hours until we finally arrive in Chennai.

We arrive tired, frustrated and pissed off. I am so bored when we arrive I make up and recite an epic poem about the journey to Chennai Egmore. I get some credit for the phone (easier said than done) and Gemma checks us into a room, which is disgraceful. I get there to find Gemma demanding a refund. India wasn’t meant to end like this!

Eventually find a decent hotel room and have our last night before our early morning departure to Colombo! Despite the frustrating last couple of days in India, we have loved it – we have seen, done, tasted and heard so much and will take lots and lots of great memories from here. Gemma I think is delighted to be having some new food to get her teeth into!

Posted by tevs 04:28 Archived in India Tagged trains india chennai tamil_nadu Comments (0)

Chapter twelve - Bangalore

overcast 30 °C

Day 66: Bangalore, Karnataka 04/12/11

Arrive in Bangalore around 6am refreshed (!) from the night before. It is not warm when we arrive and we grab an overpriced rickshaw to the hotel we booked the night before. Get to the hotel to discover that our names are nowhere to be seen in the ledger, check in and get to our flea ridden room. Face an uphill battle to get some clean sheets delivered, let alone some towels.

We head out to get some toilet paper and shower gel. In trying to convey the words ‘shower gel’ to the local traders, my voice gets a little mixed up and I end up shouting something in a half Welsh, half far eastern accent, accompanied by some impressive hand actions and mimes. Eventually succeed and we head back for a quick sleep.

After a brief nap we catch the train into central Bangalore, seeing little of the 21st century silicon valley super business centre we have heard so much about and more of the hectic, filthy, bustling cities we have come to love and hate in equal measure in India. This is the worst train journey yet, despite being only 20 minutes, with the rudeness, impatience and jostling well beyond the boundaries of being a joke.

A quick trip to a manic market district sees us work up a bit of a hunger and after still being a little empty after the illness in Hampi, we headed towards a modern shopping mall called Star Bazaar, which is essentially just a big Tesco (really) with a few other shops dotted around. It is here, I am ashamed to say, that we consumed a big, fat, greasy McDonald’s. The rickshaw back to the hotel is a serious white knuckle ride and there are a few extremely close shaves before the safety of the hotel beckons. One day in Bangalore seems more than enough.

Posted by tevs 05:34 Archived in India Tagged trains bangalore it Comments (0)

Chapter two - Agra and the Taj Mahal

sunny 33 °C

Day 4: Agra, Uttar Pradesh 03/10/2011

Up earlyish (8am) to check out and catch the train from Nizamuddin station to Agra Cantt. Tuk tuk approached at traffic lights by begging children , no older than 6/7, selling pens. Again it is heartbreaking to see these kids living on the street.

Manage to catch the right train and make a new friend in Mohammed and his (extended) family from Gujarat. My new facebook buddy tells me the ins and outs, ups and downs, dos and don’ts of life in India. He has a brother cheekier than Billy. Nice to meet an everyday Indian family and very nice they were too.

The train itself is a very interesting and stimulating place to be. Lots of activity and from the outside the train looks like it is made for cattle. Inside is much better and there are three bunks for sleeping, though one was used for two backpacks. Tea sellers, beggars and people selling all manner of zips, locks, food, toys, keyrings just walk up and down the aisle.

Approached on the train by what Mohammed described as a ‘Middle man’ but what I would describe as ‘a bloke in a sari’. Seems there is a whole community of these people who are between men and women who I guess use the train service to make a living.

Arrive at hotel, have food, and go back to the room to prepare for the early morning. National Lampoons and Batman and Robin on HBO tonight.

Day 5: Agra, Uttar Pradesh 04/10/2011

Up very early. 3 am. Misread my watch. Back to sleep.

Up early again (5.30 this time) to head to the Taj Mahal for sunrise. After getting a rickshaw to the Taj, we realise just what a sh*thole Agra really is. Open sewers, poverty, corruption, grime, stray dogs and sinister looking monkeys do little to suggest the wonders within the city.

My words cannot describe the Taj itself – magnificent. Perhaps not maintained as it should be. Aside from the pollution damage and the graffiti, perhaps a few botched polyfilla jobs don’t really cut it as adequate for a building of this magnificence. Perhaps a job for Ric here.

We are local celebrities again, being the white faces in the crowd. Literally dozens of people, including whole families, queue up to have their photo taken with us. Feel like Beckham. Probably a bit cooler than him though. Just find the photos from these families on Facebook. They are probably there somewhere.

Back to room for a well earned nap and the now essential HBO fix. Rambo First Blood. Really getting into this Bollywood stuff. Didn’t understand a word the lead character said though.

Oh no, Delhi Belly kicks in. Great

Day 6: Agra, Uttar Pradesh 05/10/2011

Awake at 5.15 am for the Marudhar Express to Jaipur. Still Delhicate we are reminded just how nice Agra is. Suffocating air quality and sights, sounds and smells to make your hair curl help make the rickshaw journey fly by.

Rickshaw drops us at what can only be described as the pits of hell. Agra Fort station is seemingly home to hundreds of people. Homeless children, whole families and young men all apparently live on the platforms there. Train apparently delayed by 2 and a half hours.

With my bowels playing havoc and packs of stray dogs fighting, children begging and elderly women urinating on the floor in the middle of the platform I begin to wish I was elsewhere. Numerous trips to the filthy squat toilets does little to quash the feeling.

Meet a nice couple from London/San Francisco who are on the same train as us. We compare notes on India and agree Agra should be done in 24 hours or less.

Train rocks up at 12.30, just the six hours late. 5 hours to Jaipur fly by and begin to feel both rehydrated and like an adult human again.

Check into a beautiful hotel, the Krishna Palace (ta Andy la) which we would thoroughly recommend. Clean sheets, lovely rooftop restaurant and poached eggs on toast and pasta makes the pair of us feel a million dollars. First beer of the trip. Goes straight to head. Later discover that Kingfisher is 8% in India. Strong.

A great trip so far for the pair of us. Incredible experiences and sights and even Agra station seems like it has helped us to become slightly more seasoned world trekkers.

Posted by tevs 10:07 Archived in India Tagged trains taj_mahal agra Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]