Day 3: Journey on Indian transport
We went to Delhi train station to catch a train to Gorakhpur. We were told to keep watch of our belongings as anything hanging loose from any pocket would be pinched. In the station, chains were being sold along the platform as it is not uncommon for bags to "wander off" while you're sleeping.
The station was crazy. The platform was rammed full off people and the stench of human waste was pungent. The train was 2 hours delayed, and when it came we all squeezed on, trying to find our seats. The train was packed, so much so that people were lying on the floor and in the doorways. It said on the side of the train that our coach would be air conditioned, but what that really meant was that there were three fans strapped to the ceiling of the compartments wafting the hot air and stench around the train. The journey was overnight, and was meant to last 11 hours. Therefore, the seats of the train folded down in to 3 tiered bunk beds. It was a very uncomfortable journey, not only because all my bags were on the bed with me, leaving me very little room to sleep, but also because a number of men were staring intensely at the girls in our group.
At 5am I woke up with Phillipa and we went to watch the sunrise at the end of the carriage where the doors were flung open. The sight was beautiful and it was refreshing to have the air blow against our faces. As the train was due to arrive in to Gorakhpur we found out that it was apparently 5 hours delayed, and by the time we had finally arrived it was 3pm and we had been on the train for 18 hours!!
Because the train was so delayed, when we eventually reached our destination, the coach for the Indian/Nepali border which was meant to pick us up had left. After a while we found a public bus which we boarded but spent nearly 2 hours waiting for it to leave; the driver wanted to wait until the bus was crammed full of people. As the tour company had been waiting at the border since 10am for us, Dave decided enough was enough and negotiated a price with the bus driver to take just us straight to the border. Goodness knows how long we would have been waiting for the bus to leave, or how long the journey would have taken otherwise!
The driver drove like a maniac and about 2 hours later we arrived at the border.