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An Indian train ride!

After the Agra tour, we hopped in the car with Sonu and headed off for our next adventure – riding a train to Ranthambore National Park.  Our train was 2 hours late (no surprise!) but even waiting for the train was an adventure.

selling chai on platform

This vendor sold chai to the train passengers.

selling food on platform

The vendors walked up and down the platform selling food through the train windows when the train stopped.

waiting on the rails to get on

These guys knew the next train would be crowded. Some of them jumped on the track to board the train through the other doors in hopes of getting a better spot.

The Audley rep met us at the train station and arranged porters to take our bags to the correct track, thank heavens!  The rep waited with us and another Audley couple to make sure we got on the right train and right car. While we waited, the rep wandered off every once in a while, talking to everyone he knew, giving the hawker and beggars the opportunity to swoop in and make us practice saying “no”.

When the train finally showed up, the Audley rep got the train guys to put our bags up above our seats and told us not to tip until they took the bags down at the other end.  That strategy worked, even though the porters grumbled, and it saved us from manhandling the bags up the steep train steps, through the crowds on the train, and then undoing everything at  the end.

The train was worn and old but the seats were comfortable and we all had a reserved seat.  Our car’s monitor didn’t announce stops, making it somewhat of a guessing game as to where we were at any point in time.  (It’s now dark so we can’t see the stop names as we come into the station.)  We had our eyes on the Western tour group with an Indian guide– when they got off, so were we!

Some Indian guy traveling with his family stared at the two of us for the whole 3 hour train ride! I didn’t dare take his picture!

Another Audley Rep met us at the station and took us to Khem Villas who’d been alerted to our late arrival. They greeted us with hot towels, lemonade, showed us to our room (outdoor shower and tub and candles) and then fed us dinner at 10 PM.

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