BootsnAll Travel Network

May 26th continued

 After leaving the internet cafe it was time to head back to the apartment and make sure I hadn’t forgotten to pack anything to take with me on my journey.  During this frantic state I usually end up leaving chargers and small items behind to never be seen again.  This time though I was methodical and made sure nothing was missing.  At around 145PM Rageev and Vikas took me to get some lunch before my journey, since I was nervous about traveling on the train I wasn’t hungry and asked them to get me my dali to go. At around 215PM, Rageev and I carried my stuff to get a taxi.  I wanted to make sure the taxi driver knew exactly where I was going which was Bombay Central.  The whole time I thought it was Mumbai Central Station which is much different.  I am glad that Rahul’s father had told me otherwise. I loaded up all my stuff and was on the way.  It was so hot in the non airconditioned cab I was sweating profusely.  When I arrived with all of my stuff including 20 pounds of books, the station was crazy.  People all over the place, scam artists running rampid I had to be on alert.  Immediately as I got out of the cab I had one sketchy guy come up to me and was starting to talk with the cab driver.  Who knew what he wanted but they all want something.  Once I entered the train station this old homeless looking man came up to me asking about my ticket, this and that clearly looking for money for his help.  I was very brash with him and even though he found out my seat number and carriage number I gave him nothing as I kept telling him to give me back my train ticket and leave me alone!  Eventually another younger kid who was standing in front of me in the line for inquiring about your train ticket, asked me which train I was going on.  I told him I was taking train 2951 to Delhi and he said that upstairs there was a upper class waiting room.  I told him thanks and schleped all my stuff up two flights of steep stairs, but it was worth it as the waiting was fully air conditioned which was a nice relief from the heat of the first floor of the station.  Once I entered the waiting it seemed as time had stopped as everyone dropped what they were doing to stare at the sweaty, bandana wearing grimy white kid with the chelsea soccer jersey on.  I dropped all my stuff on the floor and just laid out to take a deep breathe.  It is very stressful to make sure all your stuff is ok, keep your bearing and your sanity. After putting my stuff down I asked the guy next to me how to find out about what time the train arrives and what platform to go to.  He told me that on the first floor there was a booth for that and that I should just go ask.  I asked him to watch my stuff which he said he would do.  I ran downstairs and pushed my way to the front of the line and asked the people about my train.  They said the train would arrive at 415PM, 445PM departure and it was on platform 1.  This gave me like 20 minutes to chill out, and cool down in the waiting room.  When I got back to the waiting room, the local guy who watched my stuff said that I shouldn’t trust many people in India, I said normally I didn’t but I saw you sitting with your mother and figured you wouldn’t steal my stuff.  He really didn’t respond and I just laid down on my backpack. 415PM rolled around and I picked up all my stuff and moved to the train.  I had to go to car A4 located in the 2nd class AC carriage, seat 36.  I found my seat eventually and it turned out that I had a crappy side berth.  I said berth is not the proper seat in a 4 bed berth.  It is like pushed to the side and there is not any room to walk around.  In the proper 4 bed berth you normally have plenty of room to move around and it is quite comfortable.  I think that since my initial reservation was booked on the waiting list and then moved to RAC which is like one step before getting a seat, I was damn lucky to get my seat in 2nd class full AC, otherwise I would have had to fly and lose out on a lot of money. When I got on the train it was all middle class indians.  I was probably the only white person on the entire train, which is cool and where you have the best experiences.  Immediately I was greeted by some guy who spoke good english.  He wanted to say hi and to inform me that his son would be sitting on the lower bed of our side berth.  He was a little kid so I knew I would be able to dominate the limited space we had for our bags and stuff.  At first I tried to put all my stuff on my bed in a way that I could lock it all and watch it.  But then I quickly realized I would have no place to sleep and no place to move around.  I then realized that I had one of the seats down below on the lower area of the side berth and that all my stuff could go under the seats.  Since this was the son of the family, all his stuff was with the family meaning I could have all the lower space to myself. After locking up all my bags with the cable locks and bike locks I sat down and just relaxed.  The carriage was actually cold and as you know I had dearly missed air conditioning.  The little boy came and sat down and I asked him in Hindi what his name was.  I had learned a little hindi from rahul, rageev etc…He told me his name was Akilesh and then I asked how old he was to which he responded, but I forgot how old he was. Eventually I just sat, got my journal and started to write old school style.  Even though I have this journal, I also like to jot down notes in a journal I bought that Mom scrapbooked for me.  As soon as I wrote like a page, Akilesh came back and started to ask me what I was writing and what not.  Eventually he asked me if he could write in my book to which I responded sure.  He wrote his name in English and we both compared how messy our handwriting was, it was funny and he was a cute kid. Once the train started moving, more people began saying hello.  I was practicing my beginner hindi basically saying hello how are you where are you from and telling them about me as well.  The train was supposed to take approximately 16 hours but later on we would find out about riots in one of the states we would be traveling through and how the locals were uprooting the tracks in protest.  The meant that we would have to travel on a different route, through other states and that the trip would now take approximately 25 hours!  At first I was really pissed but eventually I got over it and made the most of my time on the train and the air conditioning. Across from my side berth was a family of 3.  One of the people was this 18 year old guy named Vikas.  This was the second Vikas I had met in as many days and I began to think about how common the name must be.  I asked him and he said the name was in fact quite a common indian name.  We began chatting about each other and then I asked him if he could teach me basic hindi.  He did and to make the story a little shorter than usual throughout the entire train ride up to about 1130PM, Vikas taught me conversational hindi.  Each word or phrase we went over I would write phonetically in my book that mom made for me and write the meaning in english of course.  We went over many phrases and words and I just sat saying them over and over again.  More people would come over to me after hearing me practice and trying to converse in hindi.  They found it most interesting that I was really interested in learning their language and was actually not bad at the pronounciation.  I found it in some ways very similar to spanish, which I think might come from the arabic influence in both languages. At around 1130PM I called it a night.  We had meals provided for us, and I was just tired.  People began to close their curtains in front of their bed, so I got out my little movie player and my headphones and watched super troopers.  Eventually I passed out and was just happy to have air conditioning and a bed thicker than a quarter of an inch.  I put in my ear plugs after I heard a snorer eerly close to my bed.  I’m glad I brought these bad boys as they would come in handy in the days to come. 


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