Our train wasn’t due to leave Victoria Terminus (VT, now renamed CST) until 10.40pm so we had some time to kill. We packed up some of our belongings which we had decided were surplus to requirements (clothes and the paintings we had bought in Jaipur) and arranged for the Business Centre at the hotel to post them home for us. That lightened our luggage enough to let us carry the clothes we had bought in Udaipur.
Vic came down with food poisoning, possibly from the previous evenings prawn risotto, and followed that up with a sore throat, so the rest of the day was spent resting and trying unsuccessfully to postpone the train journey.
The hotel Duty Manager kindly let us stay in our room until 7pm and then we had a last meal at the hotel restaurant before catching a cab to the station.
Vic’s sore throat had developed into what looked to me like tonsillitis, so she wasn’t feeling too happy. That wasn’t helped when we found that the train to Goa was two hours late.
We dumped our bags down on the platform and sat down on them to wait. Time passed… slowly.
Many of the men wjpho walked past took a keen interest in Vic, a little too keen in most cases, staring blatantly at her. One man was staring so intnently as he walked along that he walked straight into someone coming in the opposite direction.
I found that if I stared back at them they’d soon look away; some kind of possessive male thing I guess. That kept me entertained for some of the time while we waited.
The train finally turned up at 12.20am, and we found our carriage easily.
The train carriages had a corridor down one side with a two-tiered bunk on one side and an open compartment of two three-tier bunks on the other. We had the top and middle of one of the latter bunks. The rest of the compartment was occupied by a very nice Indian family with two kids who were all going to Goa.
We arranged our bags and said hello to the family and sat quietly for an hour or so while the train started its journey. Throughout the journey, men would walk along the corridor selling sandwiches, coffee and chai. As people started to look tired we pulled the bunks down and made our beds before climbing up the frame at the end to reach our bunks.
The night passed slowly and we slept intermittently, at first the motion of the train and lack of space keeping me awake, eventually the constant rocking putting me to sleep, to be woken by the cramped space making a limb go numb.