21.07.2011 - 22.07.2011
We got to the train station well before the departure and so we found the waiting hall to wait out the hours. It was crowded and stuffy. Cockroaches on the floor and flies in the air.
Everyone had set up camp- shoes off and sitting on mats. Men were walking around, bare feet, in loin cloths/towels after taking a shower in the railway bathrooms. Women did the same, but inside the ladies bathroom.
We were in the sleeping class- this is how the average Indian travels and it was really ok. We had the upper and lower side berths with a window at the bottom. Since we were traveling by day (5 hours) we put our luggage at the top and sat on the bottom berth. It was great- we had room to stretch our legs out and a window to look out. So much better than a bus or car!
The scenery was really pretty- green, lush rice paddies with water buffaloes cooling off in the nearby rivers. Kids waving to the train as it rushed past. Boys swimming in a river. Men and women doing their last bit of work in the fields before the sun set. Cows sitting in rubbish dumps. A kid taking a shit on the railway tracks.
There was a creepy dude who touched both mine and Angie’s asses as we walked past him, and he followed Angie out the train when she went to buy water! Even when she sternly said to him “stop following me”, he pretended to not understand and looked the other way. Times like these are when I wish I was traveling with a guy.
We reached Amritsar in the early evening and the intensity of the heat and humidity was incredible! After spending the past 3 weeks in the cool mountains, it was a complete shock to our system. We took a cyclo-rickshaw to the Old Town and found a reasonably priced hotel and hung out in the air-conditioned restaurant. More about Amritsar another time :-)