My friend Sarah and I really wanted to do an overnight train journey while we were in India and thought Goa to Kerala sounded the perfect route, heading down to the tropical south how exotic. WRONG. Indescribable filth, congealed dirt almost worthy of a post modern conceptual art show, certainly award winning not what we were expecting from a 1st Class cabin!! I know it’s India buuut…Sarah is the manager of Julies Restaurant in London’s lovely Holland Park next door to my old shop, The Cross, she refused to eat at the cafe in the station, she even photographed me eating a samosa incase I didn’t survive the night! I thought it was perfectly doable the missing link was a nice cold beer to finish it off (my fault, I didn’t think ahead to buy some because we were in an alcohol free area).
So far so good, the train doesn’t look anything out of the ordinary on the platform, nothing to be alarmed by. Onboard had a quick look around the carriage and waited to be shown our cabin…cut to.. rankness beyond descripton. The waiter smelt like he hadn’t had a bath for a week (see Sarah below recoiling for the photo!). We kicked him out but not before we discovered he was in possession of a bottle of whiskey of which we knoocked back a shot each of in our coca colas before necking a sleeping pill and hoping for the night to pass quickly.
See the sheets we were given, random rips and unspecified stains, not exactly the White Company!
Praying for a decent nights sleep (below). Didn’t happen though, we were woken at 3 am suffering from near frostbite, literally teeth chatteringly freeeeeezing! I had to go and find the conductor and get him to turn it off. Altogether an odd experience, I’ve had friends who’ve travelled on sleeper trains in India who said they were clean and well fed. Luck of the draw I suppose.