Rather than pay the RP535 for an air-con seat offered by the station ticket seller I opted instead for a RP104 (about £1.30!) non-aircon sleeper carriage which I was apprehensive about as I thought it could be an overcrowded sweatbox for the 5.5 hour journey back to Delhi.
The trains in India are the longest I’ve ever seen stretching as far as the eye can see and full of freeloaders both inside and on the roof which means your seat may already be taken. Luckily I got on and my seat by the window was vacant which I was happy about as it meant lots of fresh air apart from the long stops at stations where it was very hot.
I was even annoying myself at times in Jaipur with constant hard bargaining. Obviously I didn’t want to get ripped off but the reality was that I used up a lot of energy fighting over about 20 pence but its hard not to be stubborn in India. It was therefore a relief to chat to some natives in a non-haggling situation and nice to see strangers chatting (not to mention arguing too!!) to each other which never happens in Tokyo.
Following the usual late departure I eventually got back to my destination of Paharganj in New Delhi just before 1am after about 7 hours on board! Like the bus trip a couple of days prior to this the last couple of hours were literally a pain in the ar*e!
After about only six hours at Hotel Vansh Palace in New Delhi I checked out and took a tricycle to Red Fort. Viewed from afar it looks quite nice but I didn’t think it was so impressive inside. I had chicken sag curry and naan at Karim’s (recommended by the Irish guy in part I) but I have to say that I actually prefer the curry at my favourite Indian restaurant in Tokyo!
On the way back to the hotel (where I’d stored my bag) I stopped off for a brief walk around the Connaught Place area and then bumped into Jim and Margarida on Main Bazaar who i had met in Fatephur Sikri. We later met for a quick drink, food and chat to while away the time before my evening flight. Before leaving the hotel it was time to throw out my absolutely filthy shorts and t-shirt and I’m ashamed to say that I had to just dump them on the street but “when in Rome…” and all that. Dropping litter is sadly the way of life and maybe an Indian kid is now walking around in my dirty rejects!!
Overall, my memories of India will not be the mosques or forts but the overly congested mix of garbage, cows, goats, touts, the ever-beeping transport, the colourful salwar kameez and sari’s, men holding hands when they’re not even gay and the contrasting backgrounds of the rich and the very poor. It was also a frustrating place for the fact that apart from the hotel room I got hassled constantly and everyone it seemed wanted to rip me off in terms of overly priced rides or trying to get me in their shops. I did become tired of having conversations that I didn’t want to have and was quite happy to be coming back to Japan by the end of it all. While i was away I met a fair few other travellers all doing much longer jaunts than me but I don’t think I’d want to do longer travel in such a challenging country.
Having had no injections before my trip I was thankful to just survive the holiday without illness in any form and despite some of my negativity on these pages I did overall enjoy the experience of India’s ‘Golden Triangle’.