Another Day, Another Train...
We were so sad to say goodbye to Khajuraho after such a short trip. When we made the arrangements we had no idea what a beautifully relaxing place we were going to be in, but we had a train to catch to Varanasi.
We got up early and met up with Ashish and Washim to say goodbye and sipped some chai before our drive to Satna. They hooked us up with a friend of theirs who would drive us down for a good rate, we thanked them for their kind hospitality and said farewell to gorgeous Khajuraho.
The drive back to Satna was even more peaceful with out the obnoxious beeping and once again we watched nature blossom around every turn.
An hour into the trip our driver pulled over for some water and wandered into a small restaurant as we waited in the car. I stared out the window as a mama cow and her calf, no more than a few weeks old, wandered down the middle of the road with in inches of my curious face poking out of the car. Every time a car would roll past, the calf would get scared and scamper awkwardly off the road. Just as Bambi was learning to walk, the calf would get tangled in his own limbs and I watched in amusement while he unknotted himself and they continued down the road. Just then two dogs darted out and started barking and taunting the young calf as the mother protectively circled around her young. This continued for a few more minutes until three more dogs approached. The cows were surrounded. The calf stood directly underneath his mothers belly while the dogs snapped their jaws and closed in on him. Just then local Indian man, who had been bathing at a nearby well, approached the situation. Sensing the necessity of an intervention, he hurled rocks at the attacking dogs and they quickly retreated. The grateful cow and her calf continued their stroll down the highway and I gaped in awe at the National Geographic scene I had just witnessed.
After a nice two hour drive from Khajuraho, we finally reached the Satna train station just in time for the downpour.
It was raining cats and dogs and our train was late.. typical.
It's always a toss up with the train rides in India. Either we have a whole berth to ourselves and are able to relax in blissful solitude or we are inundated with a herd of obese obnoxious Indians and their pound invasive offspring. It's either golden silence or screeching children, sweet dreams or sour snores. It can never be mediocre; one extreme or another. We cautiously approached our berth waiting for impending doom. We had a good idea of what was in store for us for the next five hours when we pulled the curtain open to reveal mother and son and crap everywhere. The world was his playpen and we were mere visitors to the world revolving around him. I don't know what it is with the children that we've encountered, but their parents inattentive lack of discipline astounds me. I wouldn't have gotten away with any of the stuff these kids do without getting a verbal lashing and a time out, and rightfully so!
As I lay on the top bunk and gaze over the top of my book at this demon child and his sleeping mother, I notice that he is sitting on top of her kicking the wall (which has people on the other side as well). He is singing loudly and slamming his dirty little heels on the wall to the beat of some unrecognizable tune. The only time he takes a break is when he sits up and starts to play patty cake on his mothers sleeping face. She shrugs it off with no acknowledgment and pays no heed to the two Americanos sitting across from her, whose eyes have switched from sleeping serenity to glaring missiles aimed in her direction. We were clearly discontent with the new soundtrack we had to swaddle us to sleep and she acted surprised at my request for a lower volume.
The train was late getting into Varanasi and turned into an eight hour ride instead of the expected five. We arrived at 10pm and were starved and tired. We caught a rickshaw to Hotel Alka, checked into our room and immediately requested a menu. After a much needed shower and a late-night dinner it was off to dreamland.