|Me, maybe reconsidering my activity for the day!|
Chad clearly embarrassed walked a few paces ahead trying to figure out where to buy a ticket (with that T-shirt I should have been the one walking a few steps ahead, not him! Just kidding Chadders) after my episode I joined him in the queue. Five people in total pushed in infont of us, but after realising that queue jumping, although rude is perfectly acceptable practise in India, I did the same and pushed my way to the front and ordered two returns to Bandra, as this was the only station I recognised. We continued to the platforms, which were actually very clean and presentable, a lot better than what I am used to in the UK. ‘What was all the fuss about’ I thought to myself? After talking slowly and clearly to around 30 security guards we were finally pointed into the direction of the correct platform and boarded the train, ‘This is ok,’ I thought, not crowded at all, maybe the Indians want to keep the trains all to themselves, that’s why I was told not to get on to one under any circumstances! We showed our tickets, ‘Sorry this is first class Madame’ the conductor said, Daym! We had the cheap tickets!! (45 rupees for two returns) We walked sheepishly down the platform to the cargo cabins where we entered what looked like a giant, yellow tin can, everyone was staring; although busy it was not crowded and we managed to get a seat. The first thing to catch our eye was the lack of women on the train, we put this down to the fact that they must be at home in the day, the second were the men who defy death buy hanging out of the train entrance, I know the air-conditioning is below par but Jeez, I genuinely feared for them! As we made our way to our destination the train became busier and busier, we were sat on a two-seater metal bench alone next to the window, the same bench opposite us had six men crammed on to it and you couldn’t see the floor for people. Various individuals rammed through the cabin selling items such as train pass covers and Indian Cricket flags. The most intriguing person to pass through was a transvestite man (known locally as Hijra or unisomething), I was actually quite scared as she was clapping her hands then asking for money, and if the person didn’t give her money, she was stroking their faces and performing strange hand movements over their heads! It’s said that if you don’t give the Hijra money they will embarrass you until you do or curse you, but if you do they will bless you with good luck. As she was making her way through I was concerned about how she would react to Chad and I, but she just ignored us and carried on. After around an hour of sweating like a pig on a treadmill, we arrived at our destination. I had heard a lot about Bandra, it is the home of Bollywood and there are some amazing places to eat and drink etc, but as we stepped outside all we could see were people, Tuk Tuks and rubble! We decided to walk down what looked like a side street hoping it would take us to the centre, as we continued the streets were getting dirtier, the stares we getting more intense (they were probably staring at Chads T-shirt not me for a change) and the smell was getting stronger, it was a slum! Once again we walked awkwardly back to where we started and jumped into a Tuk Tuk. ‘The centre please’ I asked, no answer, Chad stepped up ‘Restaurant?’, no answer, my turn ‘Olives? Centre? Busy?’ no answer Chad ‘Beer?’ nothing, we got out and took another short walk along a busy road, hoping to see a nice restaurant where we could buy a well deserved alcoholic beverage, but no. After 20 minutes of walking around aimlessly we decided to catch the train all the way back home.
|A sea of Tuk Tuks|
|Below par air con|
|Chad defying death!|
|Spot the lady? oh no you can't because they are all in the lady cabin!|