Monday, March 23, 2009

Bangalore Conference And On The Train

When you board a train you never know what will happen but if you have been on a train twice you know that you are stepping up to an adventure. For one of us it has only been a handful of rides: From the OC to the San Diego Zoo with my school class when I was young - every minute fun, returning from Utah where I worked in Zions Park for the summer -funny, during a lay over in LA a cute cop tried to ask me for a date and he turned out to be the brother of my cousin's wife, across country right after we were married on our way to New York and Europe - the porter keep winking at the new honeymoon couple, and years later when traveling in Europe again -I impressed my husband by running for a moving train and leaping aboard with a suitcase in each hand and making it!! Loved the train experience!
We had read some things about trains in India but did not know it all.

We learned that day that a suitcase is not absolutely necessary for your possessions.

And also that you had better hold your mother's hand because one minute you are in an open area and the next everyone is crowding around heading for the door of the train. We got on and looked back and we were the only one, our companion was missing.

Moving a little forward we saw through a window that he was standing on a table and waving. Finally figured he had waited to watch for and wave on the two of our group who were late. Love my companion, always a leader even when he is last.

I read one person's account that on the train they always found someone in their seat when they got to it. 100% true, but with shuffle and juggling seven people moved until everyone was sitting by their wife which is usually the reason for their being in your seat in the first place. (Note: To a future train traveler in India don't just run off to the intruders seat because another person will be in his seat.)

So seated and actually comfortable, even little shelf for your feet, we soon started our six hour journey what we didn't know then is it was five and a half hours. The journey was interesting all the way. Soon vendors came down the aisle calling names of food on their trays or in big covered pots that they carried. Knowing that we would be in a meeting ALL day long the next day we passed. At about five hours they came through with omelets which we had heard were delicious but by now it was really too late to eat and get a good nights sleep. The next man sold packaged cookies so we did have a bedtime snack.

We had stopped many, many, times on the way so when we stopped again there we no thought that this could be different. A half hour later told us that it was different but we only knew it in our minds because no porter ever came through the whole trip after the tickets had been checked and one didn't come now. Cell phones were out with the Indian people but who were WE going to call? Finally a young Indian mother from Australia leaned forward and in beautiful King's English gave us the whole story that she had learned from a relative on the phone. It turned out the train in front of us had derailed and been across the tracks for two hours before we caught up to it. We waited another half hour then called Bangalore and told them we were getting off and trying to find other transportation.

After walking a few blocks, quite a few, we came to a crossing and headed into a small town. There were autos but no one wanted to take us. Finally there was a little give and we loaded four missionaries in an auto and it took off. That was a catalyst and another auto driver caved and loaded up and the miracle of two taxi pulling up let us load the rest - eighteen and all.

We arrived safely at the office and then were dispersed to homes of other couples to spend the night, now a shorter night and even as we were laying our heads on the pillows a knock came and we were told that in the morning the meeting would start an hour earlier than the original plan. The bed was very comfortable!

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Elizabeth said...

You will be packed full of adventures by the time you come home.

Jenny said...

"...there isn't a train I wouldn't take no matter where it's going"