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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 54: Back on the road again

INDIA | Saturday, 29 December 2007 | Views [743]

Saturday 29th December

The time had come for me to pack up my stuff and hit the road again. I had been in Goa for two and a half weeks, had a wonderful time and felt properly recovered from the busy period of travel that I had through Rajasthan (in reality, it had only taken me a few days to get over this part of the journey, but there’s nothing wrong with a prolonged period of relaxation as well!). The weather had been very good, the sun helping me to pick up a decent tan without getting burnt at any stage; the crowd of people who I spent Christmas with were very good fun to be with and made it a special occasion, particularly at a time when I missed my family; the beaches and sea had been fantastic places to relax and the scenery superb; and the food in Goa was the best that I had since arriving in India. All in all, it had been a very enjoyable few weeks.

My train further south to Kerala wasn’t due to leave Margao station until 21.00, so I had a full day to get my gear in order, chill out on the beach, and grab a tasty Goan fish curry before I bade farewell to everyone: Carol, Caroline, Jamie, Jill, Steve, Gav, Tash, Manos, Pinkie, Gotam, Conor, and, of course, Pete. In all the time we had known each other, I can’t remember hanging out with Pete in as exotic a place as Patnem Beach; we’re more used to the backdrop of wind, rain and general misery back in Ireland!

I took a rickshaw out of Patnem to the bus station in Chaudi, and from there hopped on a bus that would take me to Margao, from where I would get my train to my destination in Cochin. As the bus pulled into the stand, everyone made a mad rush for the door, scrambling on to get a seat as if it was the last helicopter out of Vietnam. I too joined the melee, slipping back into the busier pace of life now that I had left the comfort of the womb-like environment of beach life. Fortunately for me, I got a seat at the back of the bus, and sat beside a wee drunk guy who spent most of his time sleeping, talking to himself, and struggling to hold on to a bunch of peacock feather hand fans that kept falling on the ground. The bus quickly became seriously over-crowded, with people hanging out the door, not an unusual sight in India. Welcome back to life on the road!

I arrived at Margao station well ahead of time at 20.00, about an hour before the scheduled departure time. However, when I went to ask which platform the train would be leaving from, I was shocked – and pretty damned pissed off! – to hear that it had been delayed by four hours and would now leave at 01.00! The train to get to Goa from Mumbai had been similarly late. Maybe it’s the general chilled out vibe that hangs over Goa itself that affects even the trains.

The only plus point for me was that I had become used to long waits. A decent book and a place to sit is usually enough to take away the serious pain that delays can inflict upon you. Fortunately, I had both, and the time went reasonably quickly. The next time I went to ask about the departure of the train – around 12.30 – I was told it had been put back to 02.45! I was beginning to wonder whether karmic forces were exacting some sort of retribution over me for my lazy few weeks in Goa, that some higher power beyond my control was starting to redress the imbalance in my lifestyle of recent times. Whatever was happening, I should have been more realistic in terms of my expectations for a painless journey.

The train finally arrived and left Margao around 03.30, so just the six and a half hours late. I tried to get some sleep on my bunk, and was starting to get tired after a long enough day, falling asleep with the hope that we would make up some time as the train made its way through the night.

Tags: On the Road


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