#Throwback Thursday! With summer a distant memory, but Christmas not quite in reach, we’re cheering ourselves up with some of Steph’s ponderings from her ‘luxury’ travels in India…
It’s 7am “All aboard the Golden Temple Mail for Gangapur City!”
We were due to leave at 7.20 it is already 7.30 and nothing is moving yet. Hope it’s not too long as have had but a banana and small box of apple juice for breakfast and Sumit, my guide has advised me not to accept any of the on-board hospitality – especially not the beer – so what’s in the beer I wonder? Mine is luxury class – there is an obvious mis-translation of luxury between the English and Indian version. God help those in third class. I am in a traditional cabin but it’s absolutely filthy, very spartan and smells of wee. I have a bunk bed and a pillow. Be careful what you ask for – I asked for an authentic experience and that appears to be what I got. (NB Harry reassured a young friend of the family Nick who was slightly anxious about my travelling alone that I am not slumming it in India – well Hazza you are wrong – I am slumming it and am proud to be doing so. Never let it be said that I’m not part of the proletariat).
As I’m writing, several young men have been in to my luxury cabin to undertake the daily cleaning – as ever in India, a little employment is better than none and as one brushes, a second washes and then a third comes around with a form on which I am expected to rank the cleanliness of cabin and toilets on a scale from poor to excellent. I am not sure I want to try the toilets – I rank everything excellent even though everything is actually dire – but I want them to keep their job. And we’re off. Ahh I have piped music to amuse. Breakfast madam – no thank you; chai chai madam – no thank you; barley water madam – no thank you; special tea madam – no thank you. 5 hours on we arrive at Gangapur City. The Ticket Inspector – an Elvis impressionist is keen to have me escorted off the train.
I am met by my driver for the next 9 days, Sanjay. Sanjay tells me that whilst I have been on the luxury train he has driven the luxury car from Delhi which has taken him 10 hours.
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