world’s longest train ride

Not really.  

But after 8 hours or so, it felt like it.  Interestingly, it feels less long the further into it you go, maybe because you settle in a rhythm.  Like living on the train.

So I took the train from Ahmedabad to Trivandrum, which comes to an almost exact 40 hours.  It’s a long time to be in one spot.   I also took sleeper class, which is 3-tier bunks in “compartments” that are not closed off, and 2-tier on the other side of the aisle.  So it’s a lot of people to squeeze on the train with you.  There is also no A/C, which in Gujarat was ok, but as we headed south got much less comfortable.  Everyone told me to watch out for my stuff, so initially I sat frozen next to the window with my bags under me and my arms tight around my purse.  And then people filtered on, and everyone was friendly, and I learned to relax.

I didn’t eat anything though.

The first day, I didn’t drink anything, for fear of going to the bathroom and coming back to find my camera absconded with.  Which was silly because the boys in my compartment were sharing everything they brought with me, and besides, who was going to go rooting around under my seat without someone else noticing?

Second day, I drank lots of water, trying to rehydrate.  I also met some nice Malayalis, who told me that Kerala was the nicest place in India and everyone would be happy to help me out.  I felt more comfortable going to the bathroom.  Then everyone left, and the train was empty again, except for a family next door.  It was nice to have the quiet and the space, and I made a point of trying to get some sleep.

Sleeping on a sleeper train in India is fine.  You get a bunk (I had bottom), and you spread out your sleeping bag and let the gentle rocking lull you.  Luckily for me, no one snored.  The first night, it got a little cold, somewhere in Maharashtra. The second day, it was incredibly warm, and napping was all I was up for (having read the LP guide to Korea the day before). 

I did eat. I had snacks I had brought with me, and they sufficed.  A lot of horror stories go around about riding the trains in India.  I think the main problem would be length and overcrowding, but the reserved classes are theoretically fine.

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