For the journey from Khajuaro to Varanasi, we opted for the 12 hour overnight train – a common selection for travelers. We’ve both traveled by train plenty, but there was something about train rides in India that really piqued our curiosity – especially an overnight.
At 11pm in our comfy travel clothes, freshly washed faces and backpacks locked & loaded, we arrived at the Khajuaro station for our 11:45pm departure. We knew we had decent tickets, but like all things in India, we just weren’t quite sure what to expect. So, with anticipation in our step, we boarded the B2 Cart and rolled down the aisle to find bunks 36 / 37. Of course we didn’t get the private double stacks across from us – we were in the shared six-bunk section (at this point in India we were feeling a wee bit tired and that we just couldn’t catch a break).
The first to arrive, we shoved our luggage under the seat, Captain Safety did his lock & key thing and we waited for our bunk mates to arrive. As the train filled up and the minutes inched closer to 11:45pm, we thought perhaps we’d scored a private area. WRONG. In come four older Chinese tourists with heaps of luggage, bags of seaweed & fish flavored snacks and a giant Tupperware container packed with hard boiled eggs…. exactly the smells you want mixing in your tight sleeping quarters.
We all did the nod & smile thing and they were very sweet. After I returned from the restroom – oh, I mean the metal cut-out in the train that you hover over and pee onto the ground as you watch the train tracks go whizzing by (pun intended) beneath your feet – I was particularly fascinated while watching each of the Chinese women’s nightly beauty routines. Designer lotions and creams galore! And they’d literally smack the creams into their pores. No wonder their skins looks amazing.
After we all settled in, Ting and I lowered my hanging bunk, grabbed our sleep sacks, eye masks & ear plugs and wished each other “sweet & sour dreams” (a nod to Jungle Juy).
All in all, it wasn’t so bad. I’m just glad that Danny was there to squash the cockroach near my head (true story), and that I have the ability to get lost in a book and relax my mind to sleep.