Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fail, fail, fail!

22nd August 2011

Had breakfast and packed, ready to move on to Madurai - the bus to the train station in Vallupuram would leave at 14:00.

Parcel send fail

I went to the post office to send a parcel back to England.  After waiting in a long queue the clerk said that the parcel was too small and would probably get lost so I should "make it a bigger parcel" - I appreciated her advice and looked to see if I could buy a box there but they do not sell them.

Parcel enlarge fail

It seems that a box is not an easy item to find (at least in Pondicherry).  If you don't want "handy crafts", other souvenirs, clothes, chai or food then god knows where you would go.  Having spent 2 hours looking, I admitted defeat and retreated to a cheap place to eat before catching the bus.

Luggage storage fail

Fail number 3 came about when I arrived at Vallipuram junction train station.  I had 7 hours to kill before my train arrived and I had heard that I could put my backpack in a locker at the station so I could "go free" and roam around Vallipuram to while away the time.  When I found the lockers the guard there told me that they were infested with rats and that if I put my rucksack in a locker it would be eaten.  I believed him because I had already seen 4 or 5 rats casually mingling on the platform on my way in, but to reassure me he opened a locker and scraped up a handful of rat droppings and a piece of someones bag (perhaps the only remaining morsel?)

It was around 38 degrees centigrade, I was lumbered with my rucksack and had 7 hours before my train arrived so I headed for the cyber cafe conveniently located on the opposite side of the road from the station.  It was only 20 rupees per hour!  I stayed 5 hours (until kick out time) and spent the time trying to line up a homestay and/or some voluntary work for when I get to Japan - I'm scared about how expensive it is there!

I grabbed some snacks and waited out the remaining 2 hours in the train station. When the train arrived it was the longest train I've ever seen and the sleeper carriage I had booked was the very last one at the opposite end of the platform, so I had to run down the platform as the train was only waiting a few minutes before departing.  I then proceeded to wake up several people in my carriage and get some scowls which made me feel warm and cosy inside.

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