Our internal body clocks betrayed us and having failed to set an alarm clock we slept in until 11:00 a.m. A quick call down to our hotel front desk advised that the complementary breakfast is over at 10. But, this is India...so they bring breakfast to our room!!
We check out at noon but then had to kill some time before our 6:40 p.m. train to Varanasi. So it was off to Gian Chand Milk Bhandar for a lassi. Another crazy tuk-tuk ride took us to our destination. Even before we got there we agreed that it was the best 100 rupees we had spent. Wow, some of those streets were so narrow and we just squeaked past people and saw all kinds of "happenings", shops, metal workers, shovel makers, food stuffs (huge sacks of pasta), etc. The lassi was 40 rupees and was AMAZING, so cold and so good. It was so rich we shared 2 lassis between the four of us. Delicious. Back to our hotel where we elected to cool down while we awaited our departure to the train station.
We arrived at the train station an hour before departure to discover that the Indian Railway in its collective wisdom had decided to place the four of us in 3 different first class cabins. As we had booked more than 3 months ago (on the first day, first hour, first minute possible to book) we were none too pleased, especially since this was a 22 hour over night train ride. As my Hindi wasn't up to the task I left it up to Marlys and her enraged mother hen routine to get the job done. Very effective I will say!! Anyway, we still got the occasional person knocking on the door to Cabin A but the train conductors were very good in redirecting them to their reassigned spots.
Before the train left the station Eleri and I went foraging to see what we could purchase in case our Internet ordered food didn't arrive. Potato chips (flavours unique to India) and some chocolate cookies were our fall back position...with plenty of water!
This was to be our big train splurge...first class A/C with our own cabin. When we saw the train we wondered if it was the wrong train since it was so old and dilapidated...nope, it was the correct train! Our coach had been constructed in 1994, which made it 25 years old (it was 2 years old the last time we were in India!). The berths were worn and greasy with the A/C being intermittent. With the fans on it was bearable. The windows were old and yellowed and made it somewhat difficult to see out and definitely provided a unique filter to each photo that was taken out the window.
Our Internet ordered food arrived at the designated station down the track (from Yummy Tummy) and was actually pretty good. My egg curry arrived in a foil bag...good thing Marlys had some extra rice and we had LOTS of wet wipes!! With typical Indian efficiency the piping hot rotis were placed smack dab on top of the dessert chocolate bar type cookies provided. Rather than risk the chocolate pouring out of the packages we elected to eat those later...much later, after they solidified.
We made up our own berths out of the supplied sheets and one blanket (with pillow) before turning out the lights in anticipation of sleep. Oh what fools these mortals be... but more about that on tomorrow's blog!