05.13.2010 - 05.13.2010 109 °F
I've watched many documentaries on India prior to this trip and one of the things that I found fascinating and wanted to do was ride the train with locals. So, on Thursday, I boarded the 6:00 am train to Jaipur. This was a 5-hour trip on Indian Railways Class 2 Seated, Non A/C – basically the lowest level of comfort available due to my short reservation window. Non-A/C meant that by 9:00 the heat was uncomfortable. The windows were open and the dusty warm winds swirled around the car. I could feel the grit sticking to my skin. Quite an experience! Now I can check that off of my list of things to do!
My seating area was two, three-person benches facing each other. I was on the aisle seat. To the left of me was a boy around 8 years-old. I showed him how to play a few games on my Iphone. We were good buddies after that. He was accompanied by his mother. Across from us were two men and a woman in her 20’s. I spoke with the woman and found out that she has her Doctorate in Philosophy. She works for an NGO (Non-Government Agency) that assists underprivileged children. One of the men had a small tattoo on his hand that matched the one on the boy next to me. They were not related. The symbol was Hindu and signified a follower of Hindu gods.
The train stopped at seven stations along the way. At each stop the Chai Wallas (tea workers) would board the train offering hot tea and coffee. We went through desert that looked like the Mojave in Southern California, minus the Joshua Trees. Life must be difficult in such harsh conditions.
Its mid-afternoon and a toasty 109 degrees out. I think I’ll take it easy and start my Jaipur adventures tomorrow.