Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Varanasi to Khatmandu

Cows in the train station, delays, long bus rides, Nepal.

So we had to get out of Varanasi and on to Nepal in order to head off on our tour to Tibet.
And to be honest with you all we had had enough of Varanasi and were ready to move on. There was an overnight train from V to the border
town and then we would need to take a bus or taxi over the border and into Kathmandu. Now our previous experience with the Indian rail system went splendidly despite everyone's warnings of delays etc. Well that would be short lived. It ends up we had no problem before because we caught the train at it's point of origin, not the case from Varanasi. The train was scheduled to leave at 12:30 am so we got there about 11:45. Now let me give u a quick image of what the train station looks like. First off it's a pretty big station with about 12 tracks or so, and it is packed 24/7. There were people everywhere! Litterally. They were sleeping on the ground outside the station they were sleeping on the ground in the station, they were sleeping on the platforms, there wasn't a square inch of space that wasn't occupied by a body. Actually I take that back, there were spaces for the cows who roamed freely and provided comic relief when we thought we were going to lose it.
So we get there for the 12:30 train that seems to be arriving on time and went to out jam packed platform, stepping carefully between sleepng heads and toes. We chat to a couple of fellow travellers that were going to be on the same train and shoot the shit for a bit when I decide to go take a look at the departure board and find out (for the first time of the night) that the train has been delayed for a half hour, OK not a big deal I got a book to read and some writing to do. Now the locals seemed extraordinarily interested in what I was reading and writing, they would actually stand behind me and look over my shoulder as I read, so I turned to the guy and asked him if I could help him, he just shook his head no and kept on reading, personal space does not exist in India so I just kept on reading. By now the train had been delayed again so we were stArting to get a little antsy, annoyed and bored. Luckily we had a couple of forms of entertainment. One was watching some of the guys try and catch a rat that they had trapped behind a scale on the platform, that's always a good time and at least it
kept the rat away from us. After the rat got away we had the bull saunter on to the platform and commence to take a 3 minute piss, I shit u
not it lasted 3 minutes straight and created a small steam which luckily flowed out into the waiting room and away from
us. After the bull ran off to catch his train we had been sitting there for 3 hours and the train was finally due to arrive, thank goodness. The train journey itself was uneventful except for the serenade from the loon that kept us all awake for the entire time. I've never wanted to throw someone off a train before, but it was very tempting. We get to the other end of the train line and had to take a bus to the border of Nepal which was only about an hour but then we had to take a car from the border to Kathmandu which was about 6 hours. Luckily the roads were nice and the scenery was beautiful as we climbed through the tree covered hills stopping once or twice to grab a bite from some local road side food vendors. We made it into Kath in the evening and collapsed in our hotel. More on Kathmandu in the next update.
Peace and Love

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