A Travellerspoint blog

7.12.10: Mumbai to Goa

The train ride from hell...

Today we prepared for the first of many train rides throughout India. We had to catch an overnight train from Mumbai down to Goa, leaving around 8pm. We had all day to pack and relax and do a little shopping before we said farewell to the food hawkers, street stands, and the hootin' and hollering of the vendors in Mumbai. It was now time for the beautiful beach town of Colva Beach, Goa, India..

Prepare yourself for the rant of a lifetime...

We already bought our tickets ahead of time and were advised by a friend who had been to India (good lookin out Christine) to buy a ticket on an AC2 train cabin. This is compared to 2nd class, more value for the money, just as comfy, and you don't get locked in as I've heard they do with first class.
We took a taxi to the train station and opened my door to chaotic madness. A zillion people, no signs telling you where to go, no kiosks where you can ask where to go, no information anywhere, it's insanity. Indian train stations are like a visit to the mall on black Friday, something I avoid like the plague. By some miracle of God we found our cabin and headed for our berth.
The cabins are set up like two bunk beds right across from one another and another bunk bed running perpendicular across a small,one-foot aisle. We got to our seats/beds which were already occupied by a large family. As the children ran around like wild banshees, we showed them our tickets and prayed that these were not our seats. Surely there was a mistake and we were supposed to sit far, far away from here, surely there is no way nine people were supposed to sleep in an area fit for six.
Of course I was wrong ... and the hell began.

There were seven of them.. Seven.
Four adults and three children. In a sleeping area for four. The cherry on top: they were obese.
They had obviously assumed that there was not going to be anyone sharing the space with them because they had made themselves right at home, with their stuff sprawled out over our beds and their luggage stowed under our bunks, and they acted like it was the inconvenience of a lifetime for them to make room for us.
The three demon children were running all over the place like all they'd eaten in the last week was cotton candy, so we started by plopping our bags on the lower bunk and sitting up top till the train started moving. We pulled out some playing cards and before I could shuffle I looked down and two of the adults had made themselves comfortable on our lower bunk and were preparing to feast on dinner by pulling out a buffet from their bag.
"Excuse me but that's our bunk"
"Yes for a minute"
"No you can't-"
"Just while we eat, we have a family"

As they unload, curry and rice and chai and sauces and a smorgasbord of other Indian delicacies.

"No I'm sorry but you can't eat on my bed, I have to sleep there"
"We move when you sleep"
"No, that's not your bed and I don't want to sleep on your crumbs"
"We will clean up after"

Finally I had to get mean and blunt to be taken seriously.
"No you have four beds you can not sit on mine" I said as I climbed down from the top bunk to stake claim to the lower model. As I watched the three children (ages 4 to 7) turn their own bunks into a finger painting of food, I breathed a sigh of relief that mine was still somewhat sanitary.

Over the next two hours I was forced to listen to the piercing sounds of wild children as the adults stood by idly and unforced their laissez-faire parenting policies. The kids played tag in the foot-wide aisle, running back and across within inches of my face. I was more pissed than when I found out LT went to the Jets. I was silent with anger. That's the type of anger where you don't even know what to say, but you know that if you do speak, you'll unleash a fury a few notches below chipper, so you just sit in silence radiating contempt for everyone around with a scornful look permanently etched on your face.

Finally as the lights in the train went dim the children finally laid down to sleep I was actually able to get a good nights sleep... And that's when the morning came.
I awoke to a blinding fluorescent light punching my face, it was six am and apparently if the parents were awake, we had to be also. There were no courtesy whispers, not at all. And even though we had about two hours until we reached our destination, the parents thought it would be a treat to wake up the little beasts anyway. The children rose like a tidal wave of energy clawing to come out. I sat on the bottom bunk, head in my hands, trying to shield my ears from the shrill of children.
Why God!? Why me!? Why is everyone else in the whole train sound asleep and I am here with these God awful hooligans!?

These kids had no sense of personal space either. They we climbing on me like I was some sort of jungle gym, all over me like a jealous boyfriend without a hobby. Their parents, if you can call them that, because there was no visible parenting going on, just let them do what ever they like. The only time one of the dads even attempted to stop his child/children (I'm not really sure who belonged to who) the kid turned around and returned the reprimand with a few fast punches to his fathers fat face. These people should win the parenting Olympics.

The last few miserable hours of this horrid train ride were spent listening to the screaming bastards and trying not to resort to violence. I’ve never wanted to sterilize myself more than after listening to those rambunctious rug rats for hours on end. My ovaries had barricaded themselves on a rooftop and were threatening to jump. With every screech, my brain told them to take one step further toward the ledge. At least then my shriveled lady parts could exist in blissful silent solitude.

Posted by emichele 20:18 Archived in India

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Emily - I speak for myself and everyone I know who is following your blog - THANKS!! We all look forward to your entries and are enjoying your wonderful photography and writing. I don't know how you are managing it but we're grateful. Have to say I'm not ready to sign on for a swim or train ride in India just now! Jeanne

by Jeanne

Awesome writing. Really. I am so impressed with your descriptions...you should think about writing. Have you ever?

by Jamaica Class

Thanks everyone! I love that y'all read them! And Jamaica, I would loooove to be a travel writer! If i could land that kind of job I would be stoked... we'll see.. ;)

by emichele

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