Apollyon's Adventures in India

back to August 11, 2006

I'm leaving Bombay! It will be my first time on a sleeper train. It took Meethill the usual two days to book the ticket; we take things like 'convenience' for granted in the west. No internet or phone booking over here, you have to queue. Apparently there is a 'super first class carriage' but we blatantly don’t have the money. The sleeper train is (as always) fully booked. People are in treble bunk beds sheets and blankets are provided and it is air conditioned. There is a food cart, if you are insanely brave and very nice chi is taken around if you're just normally brave.

Luggage is stored under the bottom bunk but it is open to theft. There are people who will sell you chains before you get on, they are very easy to pick and so you are probably paying your future thief, as a chain denotes a valuable hoard.
Sanket slept with our money in a bag under his head.

I ended up writing all this in my journal before Sanket told me that people thought I was doing important work and were waiting for me to turn the light off. Oops one of many social faux pas.

9.5 hours and 200 miles later we were in Jalgaon(Jal-gone) (Jal not here, Jal left) where the taxi drivers wake up just for the time when the train comes in.
When we were dropped off his mother cried for about half an hour only just getting the words 'two years' out in-between sobs. It was how long it had been since she had seen him last.

Well I was trying to keep it out of here but I have curcumed to the Delhi belly. I haven’t left the house since arriving in Jalgaon. This has suited me fine as I have got to know the Chowkidars very well.
Mr and Mrs Chowkidar are very kind and fuss about me all the time. Mr Chowkidar handed me some little yellow pills when my Imodium plus failed to 'do what it said on the tin'. He confidently said 'I have never seen an illness beat these two tablets'
I am now on my second packet!
I am immune to eastern medicine.
Mrs Sanket is an excellent traditional Indian cook; she prepares meals throughout the day in her large kitchen in between teaching extra English and Sanskrit lessons. Unfortunately I have lost all my appetite.

(I don’t want to do this non-chronological stuff too often but as it turns out I didn't have diarrhoea. I had cheep malaria tablets. This got very bad and almost ruined my holiday. I am going to make a complaint against my chemist because I asked him to give me the expensive ones and he refused on some flimsy grounds. All I'm going to say here is never ever buy or use Avloclor Paludrine made by AstraZeneca. I got almost every side effect including: nausea, vomiting, lethargy, sleeplessness and loss of appetite. Thankfully I didn’t get the baldness ('sometimes non-permanent' according to the leaflet!) choking, facial swelling or death. Chloroquine Phosphaste and Proguanil Hydrochloride are toxic evil bastard chemicals.)

forward to August 16, 2006

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