Monday, 22nd March - Dover, England
Tuesday, 23rd March - Benaulim, Goa
Wednesday, 24th March - Benaulim, Goa
Thursday, 25th March - Benaulim, Goa
Friday, 26th March - Hampi, Karnataka
Saturday, 27th March - Hampi, Karnataka
Sunday, 28th March - Hampi, Karnataka
Monday, 29th March - Hampi, Karnataka
Tuesday, 30th March - en route to Ooty
Wednesday, 31st March - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Thursday, 1st April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Friday, 2nd April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Saturday, 3rd April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Sunday, 4th April - Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Monday, 5th April - Kollam, Kerala
Tuesday, 6th April - Houseboat, Kerala
Wednesday, 7th April - Houseboat, Kerala
Thursday, 8th April - boat to Alleppey
Friday, 9th April - Kochi, Kerala
Saturday, 10th April - Kochi, Kerala
Sunday, 11th April - Kochi, Kerala
Monday, 12th April - 2625 Kerala Express
Tuesday 13th April
I was right to assume that little sleep was going to be the way, and I reckon that I'd got about four hours altogether, waking up around 5 o'clock to people shouting on the platform "Chai...Chai..Coffee...Coffee...Offee....Offee" , they'd shouted it that many times that they lost the C in coffee just to shorten it a tad.
I availed myself of a coffee, and sat there sipping away, head down as nobody else was awake and I had very little headroom. When everyone was awake much the same annoying sniggers and staring were forthcoming from the same Indian people and they were going to be on the train all the way as they were travelling to Delhi, another 4hrs past Agra.
Serena was getting most annoyed and it was a constant battle for space between her and the mother the whole way. The carriage was again filling up, this time with a group of older Indian men who wanted a little room to play cards, but to give them some credit they did respect our space and caused little disruption. I was invited to play but declined - good job too as the game started at 11am and finished at 6pm.
As the day wore on we managed to strike up a conversation with the 17yr old boy, he turned out to be really nice but as the train was getting further north he was starting to feel ill as the climate from South to North is much different. He and many of the others were suffering from going from a hot humid climate to a much hotter and drier climate. He constantly asked us how hot it was, as he'd realised we had a thermometer. We advised him to drink more fluid, as it was clear to us that he'd taken in very little water all day.
As we looked across the carriage the married couple & mother were also suffering, needless to say our sympathy didn't stretch too far there.
We had however showed our politeness when lunch had arrived and we swapped our seats so that they could make use of the fold-up table to make eating more comfortable. Later this proved to be an unwise decision, as when our food arrived the same gesture was not returned. Needless to say, it wasn't given from us again either, apart to the young lad.
It was getting towards 8:30 at night and everyone was beginning to settle down again. Serena had gone off to her top bunk to read and sleep, also to avoid the constant stares from the three opposite. I felt surprisingly not tired considering the lack of sleep the previous night, although I had got it in my head that if I could snatch 3-4hrs each night on the train that would be good enough.
We arrived at Nagpur and all hell broke out, with loads of young Indian guy's boarding from the college. They had been sitting their exams that day. A degree of solidarity among the Indian people came about in our carriage and everyone occupied their correct seats, giving their friends the proper space. Very strange considering what had gone before, although these were Northern Indians boarding and it seemed the Southern Indians didn't wish them in the carriage, shaking there heads to say there was no room.
This I felt was a total transformation from the treatment we'd received, as they'd let any number of people occupy the carriage down south. I felt this was my opportunity to have my little bit of fun, as I wasn't tired. I quickly offered space in the carriage to anyone I could, young lads with cricket bats and bags all over the place.
The look on the faces of the three opposite when I was telling them to squeeze up and make room, quoting the anything goes between 9 and 9 theory which they had told us the previous day was a great sight, I believe they thought I'd gone mad.
I actually ended up sleeping quite soundly that night and with a smile on my face & with the knowledge that the long train journey was almost over come morning. Serena had watched from the top bunk and found it all highly amusing.
Wednesday, 14th April - Friday, 16th April - Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Saturday, 16th April - Wednesday, 21st April - Ranthambore, Rajisthan
Thursday, 22nd April - Jaipur, Rajisthan
Friday, 23rd April - Jaipur, Rajisthan
Saturday, 24th April - Pushkar, Rajisthan
Sunday, 25th April - Pushkar, Rajisthan
Monday, 26th April - Pushkar, Rajisthan
Tuesday, 27th April - Delhi
Wednesday, 28th April - Delhi
Thursday, 29th April - Delhi
Friday, 30th April - back to England