Traveling in India is filled with new, scary, but always exciting adventures. Our journey to Jaisalmer was one such adventure.
We began booking this trip in early October. We found a train, booked 6 seats in 1AC (the nice cabin), but were wait listed. Wait listed is a confusing place to be because you don’t know if you have been confirmed for the train until 3 hrs before it departs. Without a guarantee, we decided to go to the train station the morning of our 5:30 pm departure to try to figure out if we would get on the train, or if we were going to be homeless in Delhi.
We read online that there was an International Tourist office at the New Delhi station, so we decided to try there first. We left our apartment early, so we could be the first in line for the 8 am opening.
We arrived at the New Delhi station, and it is awful. It is endless people, dirt and smells everywhere, and no sign of the international tourist office. The only place I’ve experienced something remotely comparable is the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York. The chaos is similar, only the New Delhi Station is far dirtier and smellier. Who would have thought!
After an hour of searching in circles, guided by only a few signs with arrows pointing in the wrong direction, we managed to find the office. It was heaven–clean, quiet, and knowledgeable staff who spoke English. The staff was pretty sure our tickets would be confirmed. Sure enough, 4 out of our 6 tickets were confirmed, so we would all just have to share the cabin.
We were expecting our 1AC cabin to be nice (it was only our 4th day in India) because it was over double the price of the next class. It would have been nice, if it had been 1970; however, It had not been updated (or even cleaned) since then. Oh well, we were escaping the dirtiness of Delhi and were on our way to a desert oasis. We thought, “The 18 hours will fly by.”
An hour into our journey, we heard screams from the cabin next store. They had seen multiple mice. We shut our door and thought, “Luckily it was them and not us.” An hour later we welcomed the mice into our cabin with out own screams of terror. It was a long night of little sleep.
The mice and cleanliness aside, the train ride wasn’t so bad. The passenger train infrastructure in India country is old and slow, but it goes everywhere cheaply. As I write this on a bus from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur, my fondness of a mouse infested train has only grown.