Wednesday 8th January Delhi to Jaipur
Our 1st experience of Indian trains was upon us..we were on the 11.40am train from Delhi to Jaipur on coach a1.The fun started as we arrived at the station and couldn’t find our train name or number on the boards. After asking several people we were told it was platform 5. The train was delayed by 35 mins so we went to the waiting area- more pleasant experience than expected.
On platform 5 we stood packed like horses-back pack on back and small day bag on front. With our money belts on and wits about us trying to work out where we should be standing all coach signs started with s but our coach was a1. I jumped everytime someone walked past me or touched my bag. We met an Italian couple who had just landed and this was there 1st time too.
The train pulled into the station 1hr late – v prompt for Indian trains( we have discovered). There were people jumping off and on all over the place. We spotted a painted sign on the train a1 so scarpered along the platform and jumped on, now to find our seats…in fact they were berths. John had a berth in the aisle while I was diagonal across in a bunk of 4 along side a family of 3. Since we were both a bit unsure we piled into my berth part of the bank of 4 so we could sit together.
It wasn’t long before we felt at home,talking to our new friends. The little girl was very keen to take our photos and feed us sweets. While she sang and practiced her English. While I took a nap on the other berth John helped her with her homework. He was rewarded with Indian tea from the family.
It can be difficult to sleep on the train as men are constantly selling tea, soup and roti, constant chants of chai chai, tomato soup and roti. The trains are surprisingly comfortable and you are given a brown package with pillow, 2 sheets and blanket.
All going well until I needed the loo…it literally was a funnel on to the track. Thank goodness for squat practice, immodiam, wet wipes, toilet roll and hand sanitiser!
After several hours we realised we had no idea where we were, there are no announcements at stops and barely a sign. We relayed on locals to tell us when we were in Jaipur. Lesson learnt know how many stops from departure to arrival. That could have been interesting.
Arrived in Jaipur and after intense study of lonely planet on the train we head to the tourist office on platform 1 for a map, a1/2 day tour booked and ready to brace the trip to the ‘Ace’ hotel.