Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Mumbai to Jodhpur on the train

When it was time to leave Mumbai to reach our train at Bandra Terminus station, we were greeted in the town with a taxi driver shouting, “Where do you go to?”; and following our reply he said “10 dollars”. We tried haggling him down and little did we know that another taxi driver was watching us. This other taxi driver shouted “200 rupees!”, which is a little less than 3 pounds, so we took that. We drove past the Dharavi Slum where clips of the newly released Slumdog Millionnaire film was based. These slums are home to over 1 million people and it was impressive to see how creative the Indians living there are. They use anything they can find to build their homes; corregated iron as roofs or walls, slanted ladders as steps and so on. The driving was absolutely manic with cars, small bikes and the occasional push-bike weaving in and out of each other, but we trusted the driver not to crash.
When we finally got to Bandra Terminus Station we were pleased to locate our second class sleeper coach easily. Our names, ages and berth numbers were posted on the board: so the online booking had actually worked! During the day the chairs are folded up for seating and as from 9:00pm we could unfold the chairs to turn them into beds. Sitting adjacent to us were an Indian family who were very friendly. They were giving us information about the trains, and where to get water, food etc. In the evening they offered us food that they made up, which included chapatti, roti, chutney, vegetable curry, Bombay mix and golden Halwar for dessert!
Jon decided to get off the train at Vadadora to buy some more water, because they said that the stop would be for about half an hour. After five minutes, the train started to move out of the station……. Luckily, Jon got back on in time with the water. Mission accomplished! The journey through Gujarat had large towns lined with slums and open fires burning at night, and the smells of heavy industry sometimes pervaded the air. But when we awoke in the morning, the scenery had changed; the air was purer. We were in Rajasthan!

1 comment:

  1. mumbai-to-jodhpur-on-train
    I dunno what Mr E.U. Healthnsaftey would have to say about it … can u imagine that kind of life in the UK… oh yeah I forgot u came from Liverpool…. but rather than using anything to build their house, they take everything from your house. :) I told you about the pollution in industrialised areas …. And we are supposed to worry about a few bits of Co2 from our exhausts !! what bullshit ! anyways… sound again like all the good excursions from the boat… a life changing experience. (once yr of the boat that is)