Day 9 - Back to Manmad
Manmad Travel Blog› entry 9 of 17 › view all entries
Got woken up at 9.30am this morning by workmen, different day, same old story! Had the usual breakfast of tea and toast, still can't bring myself to have a full on curry for breakfast! Lounged around in bed until 11am trying to decide whether to swap the train and go for private hire car and driver, it all seems a little extravagent so sod it, will get the train back to Manmad, it's only for one night. Checked out and grabbed a coffee in the hotel before heading back to the railway staion. Usual stares and odd looks from the locals as if ~I'm an alien, maybe to them I am! Only half an hour wait today so leaned against a wall again in the shade when another nice old man beckoned me over to share his seat, maybe he can't see properly, nice man! The train was late and when it arrived there was the usual flurry of hawkers preparing their baskets of food and drink. Managed to find the right place on the platform to wait, had never noticed little electronic signs above showing where each carriage stops - am getting good at this! Waited patiently to get on after checking that my name was on the list pinned to the train - A1/33/Lower. Got on and came to an immediate stop in the gangway, at least 20 people pushing through with their baskets, picked the wrong door by the look of it! Found my seat occupied by an older couple - "33" they said, "you are upper but you can leave your bag down here", the cheeky sods were sat in my seat stuffing themselves, she mumbled something about lunch, not sure if they were offering me some or just telling me what they were doing, strange couple! Anyway, no problem, shoes off and up on the top bunk for the first time, tried not to dangle my feet in their faces whilst I listened to them mucnhing, honestly I did! I was sure than no-one sits on the top bunk in the day and that you share your seat with the top bunk - not one to complain though.... When the train finally pulled out I spotted an empty seat on the side so jumped down and bagged it - sorted! Five minuted later the ticket inspector came around checking tickets, "here we go" I thought and showed him my ticket. He checked it against his list, looked at me and said "33"? I looked at him then the couple and just shrugged, rather than kick them out he just shrugged too as if to say "if you're happy then so am I"! Just then, two men came down the carriage (bear in mind that we had sat in the station for 10 minutes and had been moving for at least 5, so god knows where they had been1) and started arguing with the ticket inspector until he said in very clear English, "He is on until Manmad, you can have the seat after that" - yet another nice man! An hour and a bit until we arrived so I managed to doze for a while until we arrived.
Manmad was just as I had left it ... Had a ciggy outside whilst being stared at, it really does feel as if everyone is looking at you and thinking "What the F**k are you doing here?" I caught the eye of a rickshaw driver and showed him the address of the only decent looking place that I could find and whilst he was looking at it, another driver snatched it out of his hand and said "yes yes, come with me" Yet another one arrived and started pushing me towards his rickshaw. I said "no,no, I'm with him" to which my man started laughing, I got in the rickshaw and honestly thought the other one was going to drag me out! They can all smell fresh meat and the accompanying Rupees! Finally got away (whilst being shouted at from behind), less than 5 minutes to the hotel, Rs70, bargain!
Checked into a standard room, Rs1000, hmm, basic but clean. Originally writing this at 4.30pm instead of the end of the day as the power goes off for about 7 hours per day, just my luck as I really need to charge my phone again, don't know why the battery goes so quick as I' only using it to check the time.
A bit of a nothing day really, in transit so will hang around here until my next train. a bit of a come down from yesterday when I spent the whole day with English speaking people - sort of miss them but I suppose that you can never get too attached to people on your travels as at some point you will always part company. Just take it when it comes along I suppose. Anyway, not to worrry, will hopefully be meeting at least one other Brit in Indore as soon as I find a computer with power... I shall look up my hotel there and also one for tomorrow in Bhopal.
That's all for now, time re-re light the beedi and read for a bit.
Update - 7pm. Have just been out (power back on, piped music into the rooms and have only just found out there is a volume control!) This palce is mad, the man at he desk got me a rickshaw to take me to an "internet cafe" as I wouldn't be able to find it on my own, I think there is only one in town! It has just got dark and none of the traffic have their lights on as per usual, the smoke/smog here is unbelievable, although not surprised with the amount of traffic on the road. I got to the "cafe" and sat in what can only be described as a broom cupboard full of young Indian men. Did not feel comfortable typing in card details etc as everyone was perring over shoulders to look at everyone else's screen. Stayed for abot 10 - 15 minutes before I logged off. Went outside to find that my rickshaw man had buggered off even though I hadn't paid him for the trip, the internet shop owner said not to worry and that he would be back!. I stood outside having a ciggy with the owner and got introduced to a few of the staring locals who then introduced me to their friends and so on, I'm sure we managed to stop the traffic! They all want to know everything about you and I think that the staring is just curious fascination, still can be a bit unnerving though. Will I ever get used to it? Maybe, but in somewhere like Manamd there are just too many people, a lot of them beggers, to be able to relax.
Well, time for dinner now and then an early night, I will probably finish reading my book tonight so will be on the look out for a book shop tomorrow.
Bedtime update - Had dinner in the rooftop restuarant, just me in the whole place again! Think that I may go veggie from here on, the chicken was chopped and covered in sauce, hopefully cooked at least, not very pleasant trying to pick pieces of chicken bone out of my mouth as I ate. Only a spoon and fork to eat with so it's time to eat like the locals and use my fingers (right hand only though!). When I placed my order, the waiter told me that it was cooked "Indian Style" so I guess that thay don't get many tourists here in this "International Hotel"! After dinner I was given the customary finger bowl to wash up with, then on to pudding, no idea what it was, it looked like two small plums in a syrup but when I tasted it it turned out to be some sort of pastry, very course and chewy, I ate as much as I could manage then told the waiter who was watching me like a hawk that I was full.
Back to the room and turned in at 10pm, wow! This has to be the noisiest hotel I have stayed in so far, the walls are like cardboard, I heard everything from the lobby up to the second floor, people chatting and calling out from inside and out. Ear plugs in and off to sleep .. goodnight.