Delhi to Udaipur


The trip itself would start in Udaipur. First there was a train to Jaipur and then a drive the rest of the way, for a total of about 12 hours' traveling. The single day in Delhi had been short, and was shorter still since we were out the door at 4:30 AM. We got to the train station when it was still dark. Everyone on the platform was bundled in scarves and blankets. It wasn't cold at all, having just come from London, but to everyone there, who's used to 40 C and above, it was freezing. They all looked kind of forlorn.

There was a rush of porters offering to carry bags. Besides being ashamed to have someone carry my bags, I didn't think we had that far to go. In the course of time, it turned out that to get to our train, we had to go up a huge flight of stairs, across a bridge, down more stairs, up other stairs, down still more stairs, and then go a seemingly endless distance on one of the platforms. I hadn't put the shoulder strap on my bag, and carrying it by the handle it was the clumsiest thing in the world. I cursed, I sweat, but I finally managed to wake myself up, and at least I didn't ruin my image by asking for help.

As the announcements came across the platform, they were introduced by a strangely familiar sound. It took me the entire trip to figure it out, but it was the "Tada!" sound from Windows 3.1. Bill Gates was in India at the time to announce a new Microsoft initiative. There was not a chance he'd ever take one of these trains and find out about the sound, but I wonder whether he'd ask for royalties if he knew.

When the train came we all piled in. It was a sleeper train, and there were still people sleeping in our seats when we got there. They jumped up and got out of the train as fast as they could, and we sat down for a long ride. The train itself was nothing special: three tiers of cots, and the brown interior made it look neither clean nor dirty. I looked out the window hoping to learn something – anything – about the country, but there really wasn't a whole lot of information out there. I ate some of the Diwali sweets I bought the night before in Delhi (very sweet), and after about an hour, I stretched out and slept for the rest of the trip.

We were met in Jaipur by another functionary of the travel company. He said that we would meet up with him when we were in Jaipur for our full stay, and I honestly didn't remember him well enough to find out whether this was true. He put us on the bus and then disappeared. I did the same on the bus as I did on the train: looked out the window, and then snored my way across Rajasthan. It might not have been the most interesting beginning, but I never thought about jet lag again for the rest of the trip.