December 09, 2014

Aurangabad, India

I woke up at about 04:00, got ready, packed my bags, checked out of the hotel, and walked to the Aurangabad Railway Station. I then waited for the 06:00 train to Manmad Junction to arrive; when it did, I found my seat (I was in coach fitted with seats as opposed to berths/bunks), sat down, and tried to sleep some on the two hour journey to Manmad Junction. Upon reaching Manmad, I grabbed my bags, exited the train, and waited at the Manmad Railway Station for my next train, to Hubli, to arrive; this railway station had swarms of flies everywhere (no doubt due, in part, to the feces left on the tracks by ignorant travelers), making it hard to find a place to rest in peace; it also had many pestilent people who kept disturbing me (wanting money or to talk) making it hard for me to read (I was clearly preoccupied with reading). Also, unfortunately for me, the train I was waiting for was very late; the scheduled arrival time kept slipping further and further in to the future and I was stuck at this disgusting railway station with oh so many flies, eating a pathetic meal of cookies (Oreo knockoffs named “Happy Happy”) and drinking soda. The train finally arrived and ended up departing five hours after the scheduled time. I found my “first class” bunk (same hard bunks as everywhere else, but four in each section as opposed to the six you find in the “sleeper class” coached I had been riding in (these had more head room at least); also, sheets are given to each “first class” passenger (somewhat soiled from the last users) and there is a curtain (that doesn’t really stay shut all that well) to offer some privacy; unfortunately, the “first class” coach has all the same annoying sellers walking through as everywhere else on the train, yelling out “Chai” or whatever other drinks or snacks they may have (it is actually more annoying here since you don’t have all the background chatter from the crowds of other passengers, thus their loud pleas for consumers pierce the silence and exacerbate the eardrum all the more); it seems that just about every minute someone opened the aisle door to the “first class” coach and shouted out whatever they were selling as they walked past the berths (I counted three come through the door in less than a minute at one point) – I long for the trains of China or Vietnam, those were much more pleasant experiences; train travel in India is not relaxing nor all that enjoyable. I then laid down in my bunk and read for a while, munching on almonds and raisins I had bought in Aurangabad (this was my dinner). Some time after 22:00, I fell asleep and slept for a good long while.

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An open journal or an exercise in narcissism.