Right, we're in - and we're staying...

Trip Start Nov 01, 2012
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Trip End Nov 27, 2012


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Flag of India  , Goa,
Saturday, November 3, 2012

Got ourselves booked in to our room just before 7am this morning - can't fault the service so far.

So far, we've only had time to eat an "all you can eat" breakfast for just under 4 each in the hotel restaurant.

More to come shortly....




So, we've parked ourselves on this train. By the vagaries of the Indian Railway Booking System, accessed via an agency in London, I'm in berth 6 and Jane's in berth 18 and, yes, they are nowhere near each other. So we settled in to berths 17 and 18 for the fifteen and a half hour train
journey to Madgoan.


By the time we left the Ernakulam area, the rightful owner of berth 17 had arrived with two oppos but, good as gold, he sat in number 14 next to his mates so we settled down for what we thought would be about four hours before dusk ready to enjoy the vista as we sped through the countryside.

Well, we'd both survived on tiny naps since way before Heathrow and it was perhaps inevitable that those four hours wouldn't pass without either one but more likely both of us dropping off. And it's actually a really good job we (both) did as trying to survey the passing landscape through darkened double glazed windows full of condensation (water!) is not enthralling! [Jane: - Typically Phil failed to notice the amazing scenery – lush vegetation, ramshackle houses of many colours, wide rivers and more rubbish than you can imagine. {Phil: - nah, all I saw was blackened wet windows... and the insides of my eyelids.}]

The only thing that woke us from our slumbers was the regular passings of the guys from the PC (pantry car) flogging tea, chai, coffee, curried things, cold liquid sugar (Indian soft drinks imitating – badly – Coke), more curried things and the odd kitchen sink. The service was fantastic!
I really didn't need to buy that 60p biriani from the station.... The final variation of the food delivery scheme was the guy who came around at about 6pm selling us a “very nice chapati with chicken”
evening meal at 8pm. There were two good reasons why we opted not to go for this, though he made it sound very appealling. Firstly, we both knew with absolute certainty that we'd be asleep by 8pm. And secondly – and far more importantly, neither of us (that's me as well as Jane for all those of you who know her little “dislikes”!) were in any way interested in testing out the train's toilet facilities for anything more than was absolutely necessary!! We were both adamant that we should reach a civilised “washroom” before we got attacked by Montezuma's revenge!

So a brief description of the train's toilet facilities without getting too deeply into it. Consider a baseplate with two footprints on it. Consider also hole in the floor between the aforementioned footprints exiting directly to the track beneath. No flush, no U bend, nothing more than described..... Suffice to say we deemed it prudent not to use said toilet whilst stationary in any stations....

And so to bed....... 8pm arrived and we'd both had it so I retired to berth 6 – the one next to the door leading to the deluxe washroom and Jane up the cat ladder to upper berth number 18. I think it was likely the prospect of navigating the cat ladder more than the thought of the state of the art waste disposal system that ensured that she didn't move until morning time. I, on the other hand, am unable to survive more than about four hours without inspecting the plumbing so when I did venture out after about that period, I was very surprised to find guys still chatting away before finally retiring for the night. And, as it happens my following trip wasn't uneventful as I managed to sink the palm of my hand directly into the face of the guy sleeping quietly in the bunk below me. He didn't seem too upset. After all, it was only approaching 3am... [Jane: Phil fails to mention that the bunks were 2 foot wide, rock hard and quite short – considering we had to stow our worldly goods including very large ruck sacks! Oh the luxury]

Anyway, the train was due into Madgoan station at 5.50am so we sychronised watches and set both alarms for 5.30 knowing that no washing or toileting would be involved and we'd be up and away like a shot.

So at 4am when I finally decided I couldn't lie down pretending to sleep any longer, I drew back my curtain and settled down to watch and listen all that was going on. And it was actually quite a lot. Do you know, Indian folks seem to have no concept of living quietly. As soon as one awoke, whatever time it was, they just started talking to their neighbours, friends etc.

I was interested when at about 5.15am, an Indian guy walked up to one of the compartments, spoke to the occupants and got off the train, followed by three more guys in rapid succession. Stupid sods, I said to myself, they've overslept and arrived at their station or missed it. So it was all very noisy and I went to wake Jane who, it seems, had clearly been sat behind her curtain for a while – working out, I like to think, how to address the cat ladder issue. She managed well, no very well , and we sat having a couple of cups of coffee from a passing salesman (12 pence for two) and asked the nearby train worker where we actually were as there are no announcements on the train, no signs on the stations and absolutely no indication of where you actually are. “Madgoan” he said. Well, we moved – and we moved fast. This was our stop and we were over half an hour early. It caught us completely by surprise.

So we got off the train and it was raining (again!). It was raining hard, very hard. As soon as we got off the train, it left. God knows where we might have ended up if we'd both slept until our alarms went off at 5.30.....

We've cracked the system by now. We still don't know what colour Indian taxis are. (They're yellow in Goa) but we do know there is a “pre-pay taxi desk” where you can pay the correct fee for a taxi and they'll call you one up. So we did. And they did. And he turned up seconds later. “Royal Goan, Haati Mahal” I said in my best pigeon Indian. “Yes sir” he said in his before driving us to the Royal Goan, Haati Somewhere Else and leaving us there. It looked quite nice but they clearly had no room for us so the nice man on reception called the taxi back and told him that he wasn't actually in Cavelossim but in Benaulim. 10Km later, we arrived at the correct hotel in the correct town.


It was 7am by now and another nice reception man booked us in and gave us room keys 7 hours
before he needed to! What a nice man..

So, we're here. We've showered, shaved and the rest and are ready to explore.

Laters.......

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Comments

Becks on

It's all sounding much more exotic than North Yorkshire, I must say... Still, we had a good time in our gloves and woolly hats and I'm now enjoying keeping up with your shenanigans in the miserable heat & humidity from afar so keep the blogs coming, Mr Jones! x

Mary Holden on

It makes me feel exhausted reading this! But what a great experience. Found any public loos yet in the streets!!!

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