December 02, 2014

Gaya, India

I woke up after 08:00 in Varanasi, got ready, packed my bags, and checked out of the hotel/guesthouse I was staying at; I then found an auto rickshaw to take me to Mughalsarai Railway Station. To get to the station, we traveled across the Ganges River on a makeshift bridge (floating containers, linked together, with a wooden bridge built on top, and many metal sheets placed over the rotted sections of wood) and then traveled through winding, dusty, dirt roads to to Mughalsarai Railway Station, where I was to board the 10:35 train destined to Gaya Juction; I reached the station, paid the driver, and then waited around for the train to arrive. Once the train did arrive, I boarded the coach I was assigned to and was surprised to discover that it was overflowing with passengers (obviously the railway staff member in charge of these sleeper coaches doesn’t care if many Indians without tickets happen to board the train, as long as there are no problems – perhaps I should refrain from buying tickets in the future); I happened to have an upper berth assigned to me on this train journey and when I made it to my bunk, I discovered it was full of luggage; being tired and somewhat sick (I had a stuffed-up nose and an irritable throat – no doubt from all the fecal matter laced dust I breathed in while in Khajuraho), I did the unchristian thing, and had the the luggage taken down, so that my bags and I could lie down on the berth for the next three hours (the Christian thing – of course – would’ve been to grant these people all that they wished, despite their demanding attitude and lack of grace). I then read for most of the train journey to Gaya Junction; the train ride was late to depart and late to arrive, arriving at Gaya Junction at nearly 14:00 (it was supposed to arrive at 13:30). After reaching Gaya Junction, I walked out of the station, ignored the touts, walked around town, found an ATM to withdraw cash from, and then found a hotel to stay at (incredibly, the nice-looking hotel I ended up at, as well as all the hotels I checked out around Gaya, did not have wireless internet available; I mean, even in remote towns along the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas, I had wireless internet available – it is crazy to be in such a tourist hub as Gaya and not to have internet access this day in age; oh well. I then walked back to the train station and reserved my advance tickets to Varanasi, Manmad Junction, and Aurangabad (starting on the fifth and arriving in Aurangabad on the sixth). I then walked around to find a restaurant with wifi access to eat dinner ar, but did not find any . .  .at all; so I bought some chips, cookies, water, and soda, and then retires to my room to watch television and snack out on junk food until I went to sleep. Gaya is a disgusting and crowded town with little redeeming features; Bodh Gaya is a better place to stay, but it is not located next to a main railway junction, thus not suitable for my grand travel plan.

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An open journal or an exercise in narcissism.