Thursday, January 13, 2011

Back to Delhi -2 January 2011

A traditional bullock cart ride took us from the Nimaj Palace Hotel to begin our last coach trip of this holiday. Returning the way we had come we set off for Ajmer and after the lunch break said goodbye to our driver and his assistant and were ferried into the Ajmer Railway Station in a fleet of tiny Tata cars. Our driver appeared to be very fond of the sound of his horn as he seemed to use it at random times for no discernible reason. A count of the number of times the horn was used in the 12km drive would have been interesting.

The railway station was all that we expected it to be with its sights and smells as we waited to board the Shatabadi Express to Delhi. There had been some discussion about whether the train trip would eventuate as the political protest that had blocked the road earlier had threatened to block the rails as well. However the incoming service had made it through from Delhi to Ajmer so our guide was confident that the return trip would not be hampered and the backup plan of a flight was, much to our delight, retired.

According to many, a trip on the Indian Railways is not to be missed and so we boarded our "Air-Conditioned Chair Class" carriage after our luggage had been stowed in the overhead racks by the porters.

Immediately after pulling out of the station we were served afternoon tea, airline style:
A hot samosa; a bag of spicy nibbles; an interesting “cake” that tasted like powdered gingernut biscuit and milkpowder mixed and served dry in a plastic pot; a jug of hot water and tea bags; and a couple of toffee sweets. The service by the smartly liveried stewards wearing disposable plastic gloves was most efficient.

After a stop in Jaipur and Alwar we were served a delicious Indian dinner of spicy tomato soup followed by two curries, rice, large roti and yoghurt.
The down side of the train experience was the cockroaches walking past our feet and even across the armrest, and the state of the toilets.

Everyone was relieved to reach Delhi.

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