Taxi Ride to Khajuraho

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of India  ,
Tuesday, November 1, 2005

After walking to the station from the Hotel Plaza we found the station comfort room on platform 3. Basically a room full of very uncomfortable chairs and a small table. We tried to get some sleep, but it was very difficult with train announcements, speeding noisy trains racing by and the guy next to Rick snoring. It was a very very very long wait. Walking around the platform we worked out which carriage our sleeper beds were on so we were ready and waiting when the train pulled in. Our names were also on the printed out list on the platform notice board. In the comfort room the locals were asleep on the floor, waiting for their respective trains.

When our train finally arrived we initially tried to open the door but it wouldn't budge. As the train only stops for 2 minutes we ran to the other end of the carriage and pushed our way on through a crowded doorway. On the carriage there were people lying asleep everywhere. We climbed over them (or stepped on them accidently) trying to not drop our bags. When Megan got to our bunks 52 (bottom) and 53 (middle) there were people already asleep on them. The inspector kicked them out and we waited 15 mins for them to move all their crap. Megs crashed on the bottom bunk and Rick squeezed into the middle one with our bags under our heads and feet.

Around 4 hours later we awoke and collapsed the bunks into a bench seat. The train ride across India was long, hot and pretty un-eventful. At each major station the train stopped for a short time. In our section the locals liked reading our LP guide on India, some just looking at the pictures. A couple of Indian guys used it to work out what they were going to do in Calcutta. About 2 hours away from Setna a couple of guys got on and wanted our seats. They had been sold our bunks too, but they did not have confirmed seats. The way they book tickets here in India is quite interesting and some what confusing. We let them sit with us until we got off.

When the train arrived in Setna we pushed our way off the sleeper carriage and made our way across the crowded platform to the tourist office. He was very surprised to see tourists getting off the train. The LP guide had very little information on Setna so we asked about a hotel for the night. They were a few but the prices were pretty average and the town didn't look very appealing. We asked about getting a taxi the 3 to 4 hour drive to Khajuraho. He contacted a guy and we bargained for a better price. We ended up getting it for $35 AUD (1200 Rupees). That was cheaper than getting the 40 mins trip from Melbourne to home, after a drunken night out. It was a very very bumpy ride in the old taxi. The road is in need of some major road works. Cows, people, bikes, trucks, buses and us all weaving between the numerous pot holes and rocks, pushing for road space. We sat in the back of the taxi, getting covered in dust as the bouncing around made the windows fall down. The winders didn't work and he had to lock us in so the doors didn't come off.

We passed the Panna Tiger Reserve and the taxi pulled in to fill up the radiator, close the windows and clean the windscreen. About half an hour later we also pulled over to a "drive through temple" where he got a blessing from a local holy man. 10 Rupees later and a chime of the bell we continued on our way. Arriving in Khajuraho we made our way to the Safari Resturant for dinner - a couple of yummy cheese nann breads, chicken fried rice and a huge Indian spring roll that looked like an omelette. We then wandered around to the cries of "hello, hello sir, hello, madame" and ended up booking a room for 100 Rupees a night ($2.97 AUD) at the Yogi Lodge.

After a shower it was bed and catchup on sleep for us. We awoke 12 hours later and at around lunchtime wandered into town for some food. We ate at the Mediterraneo Resturant, Megan having some banana cake and Rick a croissant. The chef there was trained in Rome and all the food is cooked with "Delhi-Belly" westerners in mind. We did a little bit of shopping and used the rest of the day to relax and catchup on our sleep. We're going to stay here to "chill out" for a bit until getting the bus to Varanessi. Looking at the latest DFAT update on Nepal they want all Australian's to register with the embassy in Kathmandu. This may take Nepal off our itinerary as it sounds a little un-stable at the moment.
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