28th Oct to 29th Oct 2016
Jodhpur to Delhi, 650km By Train
We had a lovely night, but no sleep in, and a lazy day for us. Unfortunately, we had trouble with our train and instead of only staying one night we had to stay two, and this hotel was already booked out. It is Diwali festival time in India, and everything is busy….huh, it is always busy here, how do you get any busier? So we were up, packed and moved to another hotel, not as nice as this one, but it’ll do.
Some of our group had booked to do a Zip Line tour up at the Fort, so the rest of us had a bit of a lay around. Once we were all in, we separated and went to explore in different ways. Sean, Gaz, Darren, Will and I were dropped into the thick of things, at the Sardar market, by our bus. Oh my god! It was bedlam. Once we got into it, it was just a sea of people, scooters, colour and smells. Everything you could possibly need, you can find it here. It was difficult to just cruise along and look, as you got swept along. We did find a good spice and tea merchant, so Darren could get some Chai to take home, and then came the daily carpet bagging. Our tea guy, new a textile guy, a few stalls down, who sold us some Jodhpur blue (Indigo) calico tops, and more gorgeous scarves for Darren.
Spot the powerlines repair guy, and the Aussies in the crowds……
After about an hour and a half, we were all overwhelmed and ready for a cold beer. We found an ATM that actually gave us money, and right next door was a seedy little bar, called The Golden Bar. Up the stinky steps we went, to find the coldest beer in India for only 160Rps. Bargain, and freezing cold, actually out of a working freezer. So cold, in fact, that we decided to have another round, but the seconds were actually frozen….bummer! So it was back into the chaos, and a couple of Tuk Tuks back to the hotel.
Another crazy day, in crazy India. Somehow this system works, but it is exhausting.
When we got back, Will and I decided to go find some credit for my Indian sim, on the corner, where Naim had taken Will for Chai, earlier. There are big Airtel 3G, signs everywhere in India, so we assumed (broken rule number one) that you could get phone credit anywhere. Nope, “just over the bridge, on the left of the big circle”, said with cute Indian bobble heading, “only 5 minute walk”. Okay, five minutes, I can manage that! Well, here’s a tip for you all, in India, when someone says 5 minutes, they mean 20. It was a long bridge, a massive round about, with like five exits, so much crossing of busy roads, but we did find the credit giving place. I had the Airtel app, so was able to show what I wanted, and got it sorted relatively easily. Huh, we have totally got this shit under control….for sure.
Crossing the bridge we saw this guy with his gardening gear. Jim’s Mowing India style.
The walk back was a breeze, and we pretty much just relaxed in our room until the guys all started to trickle back in. We all wanted to go to the roof top, as is the way, but this hotels roof was not in good shape, so out to the front courtyard for evening drinks, a small dinner and more fireworks. The Four Direction guys (led by Jarrod) talked the hotel staff into doing a run for fireworks, which they proceeded to set off in the street, bringing out some locals, who mostly enjoyed it, until a couple of massive ones went a little astray, at which time we all had to come into the courtyard. More fireworks were set off, and one was lit upside down, which was spectacular in a seriously dangerous kind of way. But no one was hurt, so we carried on. The hotel staff had an absolute ball, more than us, it was hilarious watching them.
Everyone just chilling, plenty of beers, and good Hindi Pop music.
Everyone was done after the fireworks, and we had to be up and off to the train by 8am. It was a tough night sleeping, the bed was okay, but we had a single sheet, crossways over it, which Will and I spent the night fighting over. This hotel, was obviously not prepared for a group like us, and breakfast was difficult to get going, but eventually we all had a coffee or Chai, some toast and an omelet. Then we were packed, loaded and bused to the train station. We were all super apprehensive about this bit, as there are many, many horror stories, documentaries and images about Indian trains. The station was not as crowded as we had prepped for, and although we had a one hour delay (totally expected in India, I don’t even think they would class it as a delay), we all piled on, found our seat allocations and promptly began napping.
It was pretty cruisie on the train, it was not very full. Lots of napping in our group.
There were many stops, where passengers got off, bought Chai, and snacks, and had to jog along side before being able to get back on, as it moved away. At some stops, the Chai Whala would come on board and sell us Chai in paper cups for 10Rps (20c). It was a long but interesting journey, and nowhere near as bad as we thought it would be. The toilets, as expected, went straight through to the tracks, but there was running water, but no toilet paper. Unfortunately for me, my body chose this day to follow “the path of least resistance”, so to speak. Oh deary, deary me!
It was often a very bumpy ride, so photos were difficult. So was the toilet.
After many naps, some train food, and a couple of Chai’s, we arrived back in crazy Delhi. You could smell it coming from miles out, and due to the festival build up, the smog was even thicker. We all hustled out onto the platform, bags in hand, and regrouped behind Naim. It was just like on the bikes, without horns! We moved as a group, past all the sleeping people, porters and into the fray of Tuk Tuk and Taxi drivers. Naim negotiated a couple of rides, our bags were loosely thrown onto the roof racks, no tie downs, and off we sped into the insane might traffic. Our driver was like Nico Rosberg, and the second car was like Daniel Riccardo. Both battling for the lead, but our driver got the heads up when, Indian Riccardo, spotted a 100Rps note in the middle of the busy road, stopped and jumped out to get it……C-ra-zy! How did he even see it, with the lights, smog and bazillion cars, not to mention rubbish? But we all arrived in one piece, and promptly checked in and went to bed. The young guys were leaving very early in the morning, so we didn’t see them again. It was great to meet them, and share our experience with them. Take care guys, and thanks.