The Orient Express it was not …

By Emma. Cliquez ici pour l’article de Damien. Click here for photos of there.

The gentle rocking and the rythm of the rails, the romance of a sleeper car, wide open windows and the bruised flurry of night-time landscapes … ah naïvety …

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Having bumbled from queue to queue, purlioned biros, filled in numerous forms, interrogated helpful strangers, lost about half our body weight in sweat (nice!), produced photocopies of our passports and finally handed over 200 rupees (oh yes, the princely sum of about EUR 2.50), we were booked into sleeper carriage S2 on the next train from Madurai to Kollam. It took us three hours to buy those tickets and triumphantly gripping them in our sticky paws, we beamed, bowled over by the sense of sheer achievement. For the next time though, we might just book online …

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I won’t lie – I was horrified when I saw the train. I nearly cried when I found my “bed” – the middle bunk of a triple bunk sandwich, its surface thick and greasy from layers of ancient grime. My forgotten inner princess made a comeback, stamping her feet all the way. A brave attempt by some face wipes and an enthusiastic dose of hand-sanitizer later, I was feeling calmer about sleeping on my bunk … naturally wearing just enough clothes so that every single millimetre of my skin was covered while still allowing me to breathe.

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And yet, the train still rocked, the rails still clicked, the carriage was filled with a soothing burble of chat and laughter, a new-born baby whimpered and I found myself to be, weirdly, perfectly happy.

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(just because I think that this looks pretty close to perfect contentment!)

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