Agra - Khajuraho. Train ride, a picnic and stoned by wild children.
Agra Travel Blog› entry 8 of 13 › view all entries
Agra to Khajuraho.
Train ride, a picnic and being stoned by a mob of wild children.
Another early start for us, breakfast at 6am, but at least it’s a really nice satisfying omelette, here, they sort of roll the omelette into a rugby ball shape, so that the centre is soft while the outside is almost crunchie, very unusual but lovely. Our bus takes us to the Agra Railway station as today we are to enjoy a train trip, apparently the road is not very safe in this next area • we are told there are bandits, maybe we are not sure whether this was true or not, but anyway it’s a train trip today and all of are thrilled to travel in a different way from the bus. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Fiona and Cynthia, here as they were now heading for Bombay to continue their holiday without all of us. I shall really miss them.
There was a long lecture about the pickpockets and thieves generally at the railway station and the need to protect each other, all luggages to be securely locked, no cameras or loose purses or anything easy to pinch, all money in money belts, and to be watchful! So folks that’s why there are no photographs of this part of the journey.
We arrived and gathered together like a mob of sheep milling around for an hour while we awaited the train. Observing the people on the platform wearing so many different types of clothing all so foreign to us Westerners, although we are pretty used to it by now. We did have to fight off beggars and pickpockets, the beggars sent in little children to crawl around our feet in and out of our luggage trying to make off with anything they could, with their tiny inquisitive fingers. It was not a relaxing time; we were all glad to finally board the train, but were surprised to find it wasn’t an Indian train really, it was a luxury tourist train very comfortable with no sight of any locals at all. I sat with Sandy from England and we chatted the whole way; a nice 2and a half hours. Then it’s back on the bus for another long bus trip. I slept most of this trip, but awoke in good time for the lovely picnic Andy, the tour leader, had arranged for us all to have in the middle of nowhere. First a great spot had to be found for this picnic, so we are all looking for a shady tree and a flat spot of ground without any people.
Finally a fantastic spot is found with a big square flat rock to use as a table and a shady tree to shade the rock and picnic area - perfect.
We all got out and the girls started to prepare the sandwiches of Tomato, cheese and salmon for everyone. We had a great assembly line going, there were a couple buttering, fillers, cheese slicers, stackers and cutters, oh, and a male for opening salmon tins! A good pile of sammies was ready.
All was going well, when, from out of virtually nowhere, up in the hills, came a noisy band of filthy dirty, ragamuffin, wild children, all dressed in rags and ill-fitting tatters, yelling and screaming, and all running directly at us! Must have been about 15 • 20 of them ranging in age from little toddlers to a girl about 15 years and several others in early teens, they were very intimidating, many armed with small sticks and stones. We thought they were hungry so we stupidly offered them a can of salmon with its open lid still attached to the can. These kids had never tasted salmon and spat it out everywhere, then they cut themselves on the sharp lid and they got really angry. I tried to talk to them in Hindi, but there are many different languages used in India and many different dialects within them, these didn’t understand me at all and got even nastier pushing and shoving at us and grabbing the food, which we had gone on eating quickly while surrounded by these demanding wild kids. The kids did eat the bread we had left, just stuffed it into their mouths whole slices at a time. Suddenly the oldest girl who appeared to be the leader charged at me brandishing a long evil looking thorn. I was fending her off when two or three of the men took charge of her and relieved her of the thorn, but not her nasty attitude. I turned to Andy and said ‘better get everyone back on the bus fast this is getting out of hand’. So he said quietly ‘gather up your things, leave all the food, nice and quietly make your way back on board, don’t panic’. There was quite a rush to squeeze back on the bus, and as we hurried we felt the first of the small stones hit our heads and backs! I only got hit by a couple of small stones but quickly the kids started on the bigger stones and rocks, some of the last on boards got nasty hits, then as the bus driver put his foot down and pulled away from our tormentors, we heard all the bus back windows smash and rocks landed inside the bus! Caused the driver to really drive fast and also for him to get very angry with us for upsetting these wild children of the hills. But we had no idea we were upsetting them; turns out the large flat rock we used as a table and sat on too, was their place of worship, an altar if you like and we had unknowingly desecrated it! Andy made a bad mistake in not asking the drivers to help with managing the children and in finding a good spot for a picnic at all. (You might be wondering what the others on the bus were doing while I was trying to negotiate with the girl and quieten them all, well these men were all gentle Doctors not men of action nor natural leaders, which I imagine I am, most everyone just went on eating and pushing the kids away.)
We drove on with open air-conditioning, actually quite pleasant, but the talking point was the kids and their actions, I thanked my lucky stars I hadn’t been spiked by that horrible long thorn the leader girl had attacked me with. There was no sleeping, all of the way to Khajuraho, we were wide-awake!
Julie was now feeling very sick and went straight to bed when we arrived, I got her fresh water, an aspirin and some bananas and left her to sleep. The hotel we are staying at is a very nice modern tourist hotel and very comfortable.
I bravely decided to walk into the town of Khajuraho on my own as everyone else had gone there own way by time I was ready to leave. First time I had ventured out alone, surprisingly I did heaps of shopping happily bargaining for all kinds of odd souvenir type things plus bananas for Julie and biscuits for us both, I quite enjoyed myself, as I wandered back Eric rode past me in a horse drawn rickshaw looking like a maharajah waving to his subjects, I laughed as it was only about half a mile walk.
Andy put on a punch party for us out in the gardens, most likely to get rid of any unhappy feelings the stoning incident had engendered. It worked too, we were much happier after a couple of mildly alcoholic drinks. Though several others beside Julie were by now very under the weather with tummy problems, and didn’t attend the party. From the party 6 of us Sharon, Sandy, Eric, Dave, John and I decided to walk back into town for a meal rather than eat at the hotel on this pleasant evening, we had a great evening, I had to sneak in so as not to waken Julie, I felt rather like a young teenager again!