Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pictures, Train ride to Agra

Heidi and Erin on the top bunk of our 2nd class, 2-tier air-conditioned train. The girls enjoyed sitting up high and playing, reading, and coloring and of course sleeping during our 30-hour train ride. We actually enjoyed the ride, though the train was noisy and rocked back and forth. The rocking made walking a bit difficult, and balancing in the bathroom was tricky. However, the rocking was rather lulling at night-time, and the girls didn't find it hard to go to sleep after a long day of riding in a train.

At night, we pulled the curtains around our berth, and were quite cozy. Here's a shot of our entire car in the evening, with everyone's curtains pulled shut for the night.

The train would slow down for about 20 minutes before it stopped, and this was one of the more remote stops (this is a place where the train would stop for about 3 minutes total, and that's how long you had to either hop on or get yourself and your luggage off). We would see some of these remote train stops with no village anywhere in sight, and wondered where the passengers were coming from., much less where those who disembarked were going.

Much of the scenery outside our train window looked like this--rather dry, arid-looking farmland, with a few scrubby trees here and there. Usually there were very few signs of civilization--maybe a small house here or there, but not many villages dotting the landscape. I would like to know if this field was the farmer's only field, and if so, where did he live?

Heidi made friends with Tusha, a 3-year old girl down a few berths from ours. They had fun walking back and forth to each other's berths, coloring together, and grinning at each other. Who says you need to speak the same language to be friends? Heidi and Tusha are sitting on the bottom bunk which is folded up to be a chair for daytime hours. The top bunks didn't fold up that way. This made it possible for anyone to take a nap during the day if he/she just climbed up to a top bunk, and the others to stay comfortably seated on the bottom bunk/seats.

Not all the scenery outside the train window was so arid. Some looked rather lush and green.

while we were riding the train, we were never quite sure where we were, as we hadn't brought along a map of India (which we should have). We saw all kinds of animals as we crossed the country, including water buffaloes, monkeys, cows, and donkeys. I kept wishing we'd see an elephant!

Here is our lovely Indian friend who lived with 6 Americans in a berth for 30 hours. He happily answered all our questions about what we were looking at out the train window, and our questions about India in general. The girls taught him how to play Uno, and he bought some mango juice for Heidi from a passing vendor when she said she was thirsty. If we'd had more time in India, we would have met him back in Chennai as he said he had a sister who lived in a small Indian village and would have been delighted to take us to visit her. (I kept his business card, just in case we get back to Chennai someday.)

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