Khandwa & Indore, the worst part of our journey so far.
17.07.2010 - 17.07.2010 39 °C
(WRITTEN BY HEPZI) After an 8 hour journey we arrived in Khandwa a small town (not in the guide book!) at 2.45am to wait for our next train to Indore. Arriving off the train and onto the platform at night is another experience in itself. As well as the initial stares from absolutely everyone, the platform is covered in human and animal faeces and urine along with red spit from the tobacco “paan” that lots of the Indian men chew. The train station is also a refuse for the homeless, people lie with their families alongside cows and other animals. Every bench or seat is taken up with sleeping bodies.
We tried to book our onward journey to Indore at the ticket booth which stays open all hours; the only seat we could get was an unreserved standing seat for a journey that would take us around 3 hours. That also meant we would have to fight our way onto the train with our backpacks in tow, something that would be near impossible.
We walked out onto the street to try and find a street vendor selling water. At this point in time I was feeling very nauseous either because I was worried about our current situation or due to the fact that the street was worse than the platform; the smells were horrendous, rubbish and waste lined the street and people were freely taking a leak or a dump at the side of the road. With every Indian staring at us I felt awful and embarrassed but I couldn’t hold it in my stomach only longer....
We decided (as we couldn’t easily lie down and fall asleep on the train platform) to stay in a nearby hotel. We got into a rickshaw and asked the driver to take us to a hotel. He drove us down some back alleys where the amounts of rubbish and crap on the streets were at their worst. We arrived at a concrete building in the slum area where the entrance of the floor was covered by hundreds of flies. Putting a long story short the room they gave us had used sheets and dirty pillows with blood and worn holes. The bed was also infested with bugs and ants congregated in the bedroom and in the bathroom where the toilet was black. There was also s**t on the bedroom walls. We requested a bottle of mineral water as I was so dehydrated after being ill, and the bloke brought us a bottle of water that was open and half full, most likely tap water. We contemplated it for 10 minutes, whilst I braved a quick shower and decided we would become ill and bitten alive if we stayed here. Oly went down stairs to speak to the owner of the hotel and tried to demand our money back whilst I quickly packed up our sleeping bags. The owner had padlocked us into the hotel and told us we must leave in the morning. After an exchange of words the owner opened the door and we walked out onto the street knowing that we would have to find our way back to the train station as there were no rickshaws to be seen. As I have a brilliant sense of direction it wasn’t hard to find our way back to square one ;-).
After the hotel experience we wanted to leave Khandwa as soon as we could. We spoke to a group of people around a jeep that were heading to Indore once their jeep was full for a price of 100INR each. The boys or young men that surrounded the jeep were a lot bigger than the rest of the Indians we had come across (which pushed Oly out of his comfort zone) and they seemed to be smoking Opium too. A local young business man was kindly helping us translate to the locals as we tried to hire our own taxi but this would cost us around 2000INR for the 4 hour journey. He also mentioned that it might not be very safe to ride with the young men in the jeep and suggested that we took the local bus which left at 5.00am along with the locals that travelled to Indore to work.
Once on the bus we were able to relax except for the fact that we had to put our bags underneath in the storage area which meant at every stop Oly would get out and check that our bags weren’t taken.
(WRITTEN BY OLY) The road to Indore was long and winding and pretty fricking scary, however the after the first few overtaking manouvers on blind bends or brows of hills past, we soon became at ease with the mental Indian driving and were happy to put up with it as we were just so god dam happy to be out of the dump Khandwa.
Taking the bus for the first time was quite an experience as it gave us a different insight to the people and villages along the roads that we hadn’t seen from the trains. On this eight hour trip we saw many awesome views with one of the best being the view of the lush green valley’s as we made our way up into a large hill range.
Arriving at Indore (a city built on manufacturing) we quickly realised that the place was about as clean as Khandwa, however we managed to find a reasonable hotel which many business man frequented. We stayed in our hotel room and slept from about 9am to 6pm as we hadn’t slept in the previous 20 hours or so.
When we awoke we decided to take a walk and found a nice restaurant where we stayed for a couple of hours before making our way back to the hotel.