Daily Archives: March 2, 2011

Der Führer: Day 12 – The Coromandal Express

Being on the Net for most of this has it’s ups and downs. An up was being able to skype, well sort of, with my Dad yesterday.. A down was discovering that my football team just lost.
We’ve had connection for at least 50% of the journey so far and with luck now we’ll have it almost continuously as we drive round the beautiful South. I would though strongly recommend to anyone wanting to repeatedly upload multi-megabyte size photos to equip themselves with some kind of resilient file transfer mechainism, i.e something which will continue the upload from where it left off if the line went down halfway through. Dropbox is one solution worth looking at. We’ve a couple of guys on this train who spent the first week going potty when they realised you cant easily upload 6meg files with an intermttent connection using HTTP (i.e. a web based upload facility). Talk to your local nerd for an explanation about that.

We have just been treated to a cameo appearance from VSP, who is a native railfan of great esteem. The guy has memorised the entire running schedule of major trains. That’s a bit like knowing every bus route in England.

We have a shower on this carriage. By that I mean we’ve got a shower hose in the loo, but it beats filling up a beaker of water as that takes ages to get the shampoo out. It’s starting to get proper hot now as we head into Tamil Nadu, just a few minutes on the platform can produce quite a sweat if you are dashing about looking for something yummy to eat. I ended up with a box of burfi.

We’re getting to the stage in the journey where I am now getting all retrospective and wondering why the heck I did all this. I dont usually get the full impact of any Indian visit till about an hour into the Arabian Sea on the flight home, but this one has obviously been different in so many ways. As an excuse for doing all this I have tried to raise money, and at least gain some exposure for what seemed like a worth while charity which works in an ideally appropriate area. We had Times of India sending a journalist to the station, off the back of telephone interviewing half of us the few weeks before. After I then organise a brass band to see us off, the ToI turn up with a photographer who hadn’t even got a flash on his camera, something the two professional photographers in the group thought was “odd”. We had to hurriedly get the group photo made up of us all stuffed into a 4×4 bay several days later on the Rajdhani train to Assam and email it to them. It then turns up in something called the Times of India Crest edition, whatever the heck that is, and they failed even then to stick a link in the article to the blog. Net result ?, absolutely no exposure for railway children who couldn’t be arsed to even send a rep to Mumbai Central station for a handshake anyway,
On the positive side, while we have a few days left to go, we’ve demonstrated that this kind of trip, done in 15 days flat, is not only doable, but doable in style. We’ve had just one casualty, and they were pre-poisoned by a banana lassi in Delhi before joining us. This is not, or least doesn’t have to be, some epic endurance test where you end up spending most of the time genuinely sick. Everyone has had an amazing time and almost the only ailments have been flu and cold related. It’s also been claimed that live blogging like this has never been done before. Well I doubt that, but either way, if you want to go round India and keep on the Net for most of the time, it can be sorted inside 30 minutes and £25 plus a passport photo at any of the major networks. If you book yourself, with an IndRail pass, on AC2 the whole way round, and on Rajdhanis wherever possible, and make sure you keep washing and taking advantage of good food outlets through a little research, this is a viable itinerary. Though I’d keep the group down to under 6 if you want to remain sane before and during the trip. Indeed a smaller group would have more chance of at least bluffing their way through in a lower class if things went pear shaped, and you’re not going to have the same trouble as I’ve had trying to please rich and poor alike.

We are now just a few hours out of Chennai, where we lose Stoycho who has to revert to jet setting mode. Most people are zonked out, which is good as Madras is our tightest swap over. We should have 3 hours between trains, but it all whizzes by so quickly.
No photo just now, but a fat and bald people photo by special request from old UCLians will be forth coming.

Biggest Dosa
Biggest Dosa In Town


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