Saturday, February 25, 2012
The Last Train to Jaipur
When we set up our India tour one of the elements that was recommended was that to fully experience India we had to try the night train. Since we considered ourselves to be night train veterans from our whopping two trips in Thailand we didn't think twice about taking the plunge last night to get from Udiapur back to Jaipur. Here's an idea of what we experienced last night:
2103h: Complete final departure from hotel in Udiapur where we had been hanging out in the lobby for 4 hours. All ipods fully charged. Nothing quite like using the hotel restaurant washroom to change and brush your teeth
2145h: Arrive safely at train station courtesy of Mr Singh (our driver). While we are on the train he will be driving back to Jaipur and (fingers crossed) meeting us at the train station. Start trying to decipher where Bay 2 is.
2155h: Notice that we seem to be the only Caucasians on the platform. There are a lot of people on the platform. Have a lead on the location of the mysterious Bay 2. I make a joke about how we should be looking for platform 9 3/4. Chloe not amused.
2205h: Here's the train. Mr Singh sees us safely on (all the way to our seats) and gives us a bag filled with water, chips, and chocolate. We love Mr Singh. We have two bunks (top and middle) out of six on the one side, and a lower bunk on the other side of the aisle. No one else is there. This is probably too good to be true.
2210h: The dream dies quickly. Sudden arrival of a family of 5 (2 parents, 2 grandparents, and a 2 1/2 year old boy) with a ton of bags. Thankfully all our big bags went with Mr Singh.
2215h: The family is now moved in. Chloe decides she will hang out with me across the aisle, as unlike Thailand the curtain system in the main section (where Heather and Chloe's bunks were) would give no privacy form the Adams Family. Small silver lining - so far no one has claimed the bunk above me.
2220h: And we are off. Unlike Thailand trains there is no one to make your bed, so Heather and I climb to the top bunk on both sides (we traded out of the middle bunk with the family) and make them up while moving (and balancing) cautiously. Now Heather and Chloe can be top bunks with the family beneath them and I will be across the aisle.
2300h: The family decides it is bedtime so Heather climbs to her perch. Chloe decides that she will hang out with me a while longer, as my bunk has a curtain that provides for privacy without the family.
2305h: The family's child decides to express himself, followed by the Grandpa repeatedly making a noise akin to coughing up a lung. This won't be good.
2315h: Chloe announces her intention to exercise her squatters rights, move into my bunk, and stay up all night. Break out first chocolate bar hoping sugar will keep us awake. Start watching "The Descendants." Very envious of every character i see who has a bed, even the comatose wife.
2400h: Chloe starts to sink against her side of the bunk. Knew she was done when she asked for a pillow. Looks like I definitely have a bunkmate. Not sure how this will work fitting both of us into tiny bunk space.
0130h: I give up. Decide to leave bunk and use the one that is above mine. At this point I don't care that there are no sheets, no pillows, and about 6 heavy blankets. But before I make the climb I need to extricate my arm from underneath Chloe's head. Delicate operation but I succeed.
0135h: Make crude pillow out of blankets. Sleep mercifully arrives quickly.
0300h: Just like that naptime is over. The rightful owner of bunk 56 arrives and I evacuate back to my shared space to curl up and finish "The Descendants" cause sleep is not happening with the ruckus the new arrivals are making. The flashlight they keep shining into our bunk for some reason doesn't help much either.
0540h: Only 20 minutes left until its time to get organized to exit. Decide to celebrate with "Big Bang Theory" to lighten my sleep deprived mood
0600h: Open our curtain to dig out our bags underneath the bunk. Thankfully spot diaper from the kid that has been left in the aisle before an incident happens. Chloe's bag unaccounted for.
0610: Heather climbs down from her perch and avoids the diaper. Uses her motherly insight of Chloe to determine that she is clutching her bag still and it never was placed below.
0620h: Train stops and we make a break for it and find Mr Singh waiting for us. Our night train experience is now behind us, and we can all head for the hotel for a well-deserved sleep!