Journey to Nasik
16.07.2010 - 16.07.2010 33 °C
Feeling slightly curried out for breakfast we only had a milkshake to wash down the malaria tablets.
After what seemed like an hour of re-packing we left the hotel at 9.30 to catch a rickshaw to the train station which was just on the outskirts of Mumbai as this was closer to us than the central station, being 40 minutes away. As we left the hotel the heavens opened.
We had not yet been in a rickshaw so we were quite excited at this new experience. We just managed to fit ourselves with our bags piled on top of us in the back of the tiny automobile, we couldn’t move an inch. Along the way in the middle of a traffic jam the tut tut broke down and it was a matter of time before the traffic would start moving again, we were stuck in the middle of so many cars. It took many attempts for the driver to re-start the tut, during which the beeps of the traffic to our rear became more fierce. (WRITTEN BY OLY) Although everyone here beeps all the time, it isn’t the same as in England, people here love their horns and don’t mean any aggression when they use them. They are purely to let people know they are coming through, with some cars having “Use your horn! OK” written on the back of them, god dam annoying.
The rain got heavier & heavier and at one point the flooded road was about to poor over the edge of the door well. The water created waterfalls pouring off of the roof tops and kerb edges. The rain wasn’t cold and it wasn’t too hot, it was rather refreshing, children played in the floods and people made their way through the flooded streets as if it was a normal day. It makes you realise how resilient people are here.
(WRITTEN BY HEPZI) So a break down, a crash and 2 hours later, we finally arrived at a grubby looking train terminal. The water had turned the ground to mud and homeless people huddled under the bridge that was close to the terminal. Here was the first time we were surrounded by begging children, one of the girls kept tapping my arm and repeating something that sounded like Pepsi or Hepzi, it was a little bit strange I think she must have heard Oly say my name. (WRITTEN BY OLY) Although human nature tells us to help these people, the money would normally go to the children’s master and encourage begging as a way of life. It is much better to give them food or we have been told crayons, if you give them crayons, they, if only for a minute or two, can act like a child in the madness of their usual environment.
The children soon left us alone and we made our way onto the train which we would be on for the next three hours. The train was extremely long and was two toned blue and light blue in colour. It had large metal bars on all the windows which were to stop people from climbing in. Riding on top of the trains is now banned so although I wanted to, I thought I had better make do with holding onto the hand rails and looking out of the open carriage door instead. As we started to make our way out of the hustle and bustle of Mumbai and into the countryside the air became fresher and although the stench of human excrement was rather strong when travelling slowly along the tracks (due to the toilets being flushed onto the tracks), once we picked up some speed, you could enjoy the tropical smells coming from the track side flora, the sights, smells and sounds of while hanging from the train door really was an amazing experience.
Whilst on the train, there is an abundance of vendors selling everything a traveller could need, from samosas to key chains, Hepzi and I went for some samosas which were served in a little food tray made from a staple box. They cost 10INR for 2 samosas and a little green chilli, which after taking a bite, Hepz realised was somewhat hotter than the chilli’s we are use to. We also risked having a cup of Chai tea each, generally if the food and drink is very hot, it’s ok to consume.
(WRITTEN BY HEPZI) Nasik is a holy town where people all over India travel to see its temple and to pray & bathe at the Ghats. No tourists were around at the time and all though Nasik is in our guide book we are not sure that the people there especially the children had ever seen a white person before. This led to very intimidating and constant stares from thousands of people on the bustling narrow streets. After being bumped into by what seemed like an angry holy person possibly from the way I was dressed (all though my shoulders were covered and I was wearing an ankle long dress a passerby who owned a shop explained that not wearing a Shari was disrespectful, all though wearing jeans and t-shirt was the attire by some Indian girls, normally the wealthier middle class with western influence).
(WRITTEN BY OLY) We travelled by rickshaw to the hotel we had chosen from our guide book and turned up to what looked like a very nice hotel, however it seemed that the hotel was in three parts and the first reception we arrived at was the top end hotel of the three. Then we made our way to a second reception desk before actually finding the third and correct reception desk to the lower end but what seemed like a reasonable hotel and the cheapest of our trip at 600 INR per night, about £8. The hotel was tucked away at the back of the nicer hotels which suited us fine as it meant we didn’t have to listen to the constant beeping of horns.
After trying to buy some train tickets to Indore, where we would be able to change trains to head to Jaipur, Rajasthan, we ended up having to buy tickets to Khandwa where we would wait at the train station for 3 hours before getting a train to Indore where we would be able to travel to Jaipur from.
So after buying our tickets to Khandwa we had dinner at the hotel restaurant which was tasty and clean (no stomach upsets yet) and then went to bed. The next day we chilled out at the hotel until around 7pm which was when we left for our train to Khandwa.
(WRITTEN BY HEPZI) Arriving at the train station and finding the correct platform we have learnt is a skill. There is nothing written in English at any of the train stations we have been to so far to direct you to the correct place to wait for your train. We have learnt that asking is the best way to find out what you want to know, however asking more than two people is a good idea. So after nearly not getting on the correct train we found our correct carriage and seat number and joined another two Indian men, Ankur and Dinesh.
After a couple of games of BLOB, which broke the ice with the two strangers, I felt happier about falling asleep in the presence of these two people as we felt they would certainly help us out if we had any problems.