My eyes opened and my mind was still with the previous day’s activities. In some ways I was happy to be up this early as I would tire out and sleep on the train. It is a long journey and sleeping through it would be great. First things first though, I should pack up my things so that it’s all ready to go. I keep experimenting with different techniques but I find the wrap method I found on Lifehacker once quite good. I showed my cousin Asia in Poland how to do it. She said that they tried to recreate the technique themselves but couldn’t figure it out. I can still fit everything in my backpack. I refrain from buying things for the simple reason that there is no space for more of anything else. If anything I keep thinking of what I’ll leave behind somewhere when it’s time. I still see room for improvement with packing up. Things are finding their place so that it is easier to keep track of it all. I wanted to get coffee and I quite enjoyed that Starbucks that I went to before.
It is quite spacious and I know I’m getting a “decent” coffee. The service could be a bit better as the coffee bar and the till are separated. There is also one person working it and he keeps on making the cold frappucino drinks that are time consuming. I got to the Starbucks before it opened it was just before eight. The streets were relatively quiet of people and cars. Those that were on the streets walked to their places of employment slowly dispersing down different streets. I took a moment to go inside St Thomas Church. It was quiet and peaceful inside as I sat there for a few minutes contemplating recent events and future endeavors.
It is a beautiful day I thought to myself as I left the church and proceeded to the shop to order my coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I figure the food here conforms to a certain standard that I’m hoping is carried over from North America. The breakfast is also better than the “complimentary” one served in the hotel. I was warned about eating and drinking here as many people develop gastrointestinal distress afterwards. I’m trying to avoid the displeasure. Time here was productive. I managed to download all the offline maps to the places I’m going to. It’s a bit tricky at first with Google but I am getting a handle on it. I wanted to get breakfast et cetera finished in order to relax a bit before this trek to Goa. When I got back and finished everything I still had plenty of time to play with. I did a beginners yoga program from one of my apps on the phone. I couldn’t surf the web as I ran out of bandwidth due to my phone updating in the background as it was charging overnight. I figured I could use another shot of caffeine so I cabbed it back to Starbucks after checking out. Many people here speak English some very well others only a few words that have managed to infiltrate the language. This driver however didn’t understand where I wanted to be taken so I showed him on the map that I had saved earlier to guide my travels through the city. The hotel attendant had a look and eventually the manager came out. The Starbucks is by the church. It got everyone confused as if they don’t know how the area looks on a map. It was’t until I zoomed in a bit that the name of the roundabout came up that they knew where I wanted to go. The traffic increased dramatically in the few short hours that I took to get ready.
After getting there I planned on getting Uber to drive me to the Train Station. I’ve found that being a white person sets you up as a magnet for people charging more. They think you can afford the higher cost. I noticed that with the cab as he never started the meter and asked for a hundred rupees. It translates to just over a pound but that really isn’t the problem it’s not the amount it’s the principle. With uber I know how much it will cost from the estimate they send me and I know what my driver looks like. You don’t get that in a cab. The traffic around the roundabout was crazy. Horns honking all the time. It was a painfully slow process to maneuver around it and this traffic was further hampered by the roadworks in front of the buildings. The driver took a while to finally get to me. We were off and once past the crazy traffic it was a fairly speedy drive to the train station. I had more than an hour to spare. I sat outside in the shade with the rest of them watching as people moved along with all the wares they planned to take with them on their journey.
Some people really took a lot with them. I found the canteen and loaded up on water for the journey. I had twenty minutes to go and had to find my cabin. I walked the whole length of the train after asking a police officer for directions to the right car. He gave me the wrong advice.
As I got to the other side of the train I asked one of the employees and he pointed to the display that gives you the car name. Why couldn’t the cop tell me this? I started to sweat as I quickly traversed from one end to the other. With the new information in mind it made finding my place a lot easier. I found my car then came finding my seat.
I was happy to discover with the help of a lady that I had the space all to myself. It is a double seat that folds into a bed for one. She kind of told me how to open it up and she told me to relax and lay down. I did and as I lay there watching Bombay pass outside my window I drifted away and slept for a while. I awoke to some guy asking me something.
With the lady’s interpretation he was asking me to switch seats for the bunk up top. He had a friend and they wanted to sit together and talk. The bunk up top has no window and my stuff in under my seat strapped in with my belt for security. I told him no but unfolded my seat so that he could sit. Those two are sharing the bunk together above me now. The sitting across from each other lasted for a couple of hours. Each bunk is assigned to a specific person. The four person bunks are often shared by families traveling together to their destination. The length of the bed is long enough with about half a foot of leeway left to go. The train rumbles along at a steady pace stopping for a few minutes at regular intervals to drop off passengers at their stops. There are no announcements so I will have to be vigilant for my stop.
I set the alarm to wake me an hour before the scheduled time. The darkness is not punctuated by any bright city lights as we roll along the track. The stations have a few lights illuminating the platforms as we enter them. Otherwise the few dots of light come from village street lamps that shine in the distance. There are not many of these that I could see. I occasionally check the map for an update to my location and stretch my legs by walking to the edge of the cabin and taking in the journey through the open door. Health and safety would have a field day with all the violations I’ve seen. As we got closer I tried to sleep some more but the closer I got the more awake I felt. I got ready to disembark from the train.
The station had weird artwork in the wall and I took my time by getting more water and taking in the atmosphere of the place.
I had to climb the stairs to get to the cab drivers that asked if I wanted a ride earlier. There was one and I asked him for the price and negotiated it down. We were going to get there in a tuk tuk. A scooter hybrid and the version in front of me looked worse for wear. I’m going to travel for roughly forty kilometers in this thing. He seemed like a decent guy and we stopped for some chai tea on the side of the road.
The road was quite treacherous in parts and the little tuk tuk had trouble climbing the hills. I can’t believe he drove me here in that thing. He said that he will be getting a new one soon and overall the ride wasn’t that bad. With satellite technology on our side we quickly found our way. It’s amazing that having the offline map loaded onto the phone the GPS places you pretty precisely on it. I don’t think the driver has ever been here.
The guard at the door alerted one of the page boys and they put me into an unoccupied room. I wanted to get here and at least leave my backpack securely somewhere. It’s actually quite nice sitting here finishing this before I shower. It was a good day encountered some nice people.