I’m on the train to Jaisalmer. The compartment is a first class compartment. Second class compartments aren’t nearly as nice and aren’t really compartment at all. Does someone need a first class compartment? No. First class compartments are only for people who need privacy. I had this compartment to myself. The door actually locked. Only first class compartments have doors. They even have a button to call the porter. I know, I pushed it accidentally. First calls compartments are cleaner than second class compartments. They have more space, more lights, a closet, more electrical outlets, better seats, cleaner windows, etc. Second class is just fine, though. There’s no privacy, it’s cramped, lots of children, smelly, etc. I like second class. It’s sorta’ homey in a slightly degraded socio-economic sense.
I took the picture because the train station is big and imposing. It’s big and imposing because Varanasi is a large town, but has only one train station. Many other large Indian cities have two, three or more train stations. It’s also teeming with a mass of humanity that seems to want to squat on the floor inside, making it almost impossible to get through to the trains. I’m not sure that some of them aren’t squatting there in perpetuity.
This is Wikki, my Indian friend who works for Macy’s. He works at a call center. How many call centers are there in India? More than I can count. Wikki and I shared a compartment on the train from Delhi to Agra. I learned a lot from him about Indian life from him. Hopefully, I instilled a little more desire in him for All-Things-American.
I’m waiting on my train to Agra. The Delhi train station is more than just an interesting place, it’s a little slice of… well, I’m not sure. But after some careful thought, the first word that comes to mind is Purgatory.
This is the plaza out in front of the train plaza. The picture is taken from the top of the city wall. The area is quite active.
I caught the overnight train from Shanghai, China to Xian, China. It cost me about $70 and saved me about $15 in overnight hostel charges. Once again, I had a Chinese person who was also occupying the four bed sleeper room who spoke English. It took about 14 hours to get to Xian.
It’s the train station in Shanghai. The day before I left I made a trial run to the station to make sure I wouldn’t get there and mess up the train connection. It’s confusing enough to catch a train in China without having a clue what’s going on.
This is the platform where we all boarded the train going from Beijing to Shanghai. Nice platform. Nice train. You should have seen the station. It was about as modern as a train station can get.
I rode the D Train from Beijing to Shanghai. Sure, it may have cost me a little over $100 for the trip, but I can assure you it was way-better than walking. I left Beijing at about 9::30 P.M. and got to Shanghai around 8:30 A.M. the next morning. O.K., sleeping on the train was hardly like sleeping in my own bed at home. But the experience was significant. There are 3 levels of sleeper train service in China. The D Trains are the middle class lf train. It was nice, to say the least. I hope no one at AMTRAK sees this picture. I wouldn’t want the to go running to the administration and ask why they can’t have trains this nice.
It was enough to make me go home. The lines in this country are overwhelming. Even though they have an English Speaking window, they don’t have an Only English Speaking window. This means that the lines are extra long at all windows. The secret is to get there early and have everything written down in Chinese.