The business of getting the trains booked is underway and the numbers actually getting their tickets booked is extremely encouraging. We’re certainly going to be in the 20s. For up to date info visit the Costs page, which I will refine once I’ve worked out what the road sections are going to cost, which is dependent on how many of us there are.
The next paragraph, it has now been established, is false. I’ll leave it in else my sensationalist post title doesn’t make any sense. £128 for 12,000 miles is a pretty good deal anyway.
But we’ve just been rocked by the discovery that Indians have to pay DOUBLE what it will cost a foreigner to execute this adventure . We’d always been under the assumption that the trip could be executed as a circular journey, with perhaps the odd extra. I cant repeat the equation used to calculate a circular journey, but it’s basically an attenuating fee the further you go. The number we came up with was actually just less then the cost of the IndRail. But it turns out that you can only have 8 breaks, i.e. 9 trains, on a circular journey. We’ve got 19. I do hope we can get some locals to join us for a bit but it’s looking bleak at this rate. But we do have the next best thing which is a healthy representation from the ex-pat Indians.
In other news, our friends the Maoists are doing their level best to usurp heavenly forces as the biggest threat to our success. Things have got so bad that they are now threatening heritage trains in Britain. See photo in this article http://www.mynews.in/News/Four_trains_cancelled_in_Bihar_amid_Maoist_shutdown_N77023.html. which is an awfully long way from Bihar. And it’s an Indian website to boot!.
And while I am in rant mode, take a look at this classic piece of work from a certain Dr Deborah Swallows http://www.deborahswallow.com/2010/02/09/train-travel-around-the-world/ “A leading authority on inter-cultural communication”. Two of the sensationalist photos are the same train, which was an inaugural journey of a train in a different country, and the other two are of a religious holiday special. I dont know what she is on about with the “Karkoram Express”, there is no railway over the KKH last time I checked. What really got my chapaties to curl up was the comment from some vermin called Kiran which she presumably cant be arsed to moderate. I did send her a nasty hate mail but she either hasn’t worked out how to use the Internet or thinks that the article is perfectly acceptable coming from a pseudo academic with a masters in bullshit.
And finally, I am still lamenting the loss of Ravi Shankars on Drummond Street. It’s still there but it’s all gone west , or rather just east of the Ganges delta, once you step inside. But my spirits have soared recently, and my digestive juices flowed, whenever I think of Chennai Dosa, who have an outlet here in Reading which it had taken me far too long to try out. It’s cash only be warned, but it really is super, and at £2.50 for a splendiferous masala dosa, you can treat the family to lunch with sweet lassi for inside 20 quid!.