An Aptly Named train, Shimla, and being organised in India

FYI this post may contain TMI…

We got a train from Delhi to Kalka early on the 5th.  All trains here have names.  This one was called the SHTBDI (pronounced shitbiddy).  Appropriately named, as I was about to find out.  After crowing about how I had avoided Delhi belly, I lay awake the night before the train ALL night with tummy pain.  After exactly 0 minutes sleep we woke up early to catch the train at Delhi.  (The smell of Delhi is also now starting to really get to me – I didn’t realise how sensitive i was to smells, but oh my god I would rather eat Donald Trump’s toenail clippings than smell that smell again!). As we got to the station I felt myself feeling cold and clammy.  I coughed and lost a bit of control.  You don’t need any more info. You know when you are in that panic and you have a ridiculous choice ahead of you.  Like an awful game of “would you rather?” There are hundreds of people around you, would you rather keep your pants up and sit in your own stink all day or drop them and everyone seeing you literally lose your shit on the platform!  Luckily I never had to make the choice and I still don’t know which way I’d have gone!! I survived til the train –  I think this is one of the toilets that Joy meant – A squatter that made your eyes water…  I promptly threw up into the sink.  Luckily that made me feel slightly better although I didn’t eat for the next two days!  That last meal out was definitely not worth it!

Shimla, although unfortunately tainted by sickness, was amazing!  

The toy train would have been good had I been able to stay awake.

  The town was lovely and quiet, beautiful architecture and very clean.  I’m still struggling with the contrast of people in India – When we arrived in Shimla the taxi driver and some other local men tried to misdirect us away from our hotel.  However the next day i misheard a shopkeeper with the price of a bottle of coke and walked off without my change.  He ran down the street for me with my twenty rupees!  I think this is the case with india – There is so much contrast in everything.

The best thing in Shimla was the monkey temple! 

It was the steepest climb ever!  Good training for the inca trail and the altitude is roughly the same too. 

We sat up there in the sunshine and watched the monkeys for a while, nether had of us wanted to actually go into the temple as we watched three separate tourists have their shoes stolen by the monkeys within half an hour!  But it was stunning outside and the views were phenomenal!

I decided I would do some organising after getting back from our tea and realised that after our trains (literally trains from 10:25 until 21:55) tomorrow, we would be back in Delhi waiting for a bus that I hadn’t had a confirmation email from in a dodgy area.  I cannot smell that smell again so I tried to book another train.  So this is a tip for India.  I am the most organised person in the world.  And I can’t organise myself in India.  So don’t stress it!  You can’t do it it is impossible.  It reminds me of whack-a-mole.  Once you have sorted a problem another one pops up.  There have been countless examples but tonight’s example was booking a train.  Simple?  I have the app.  Go on the app.  No internet.  Wifi at hotel is poor so we go to get a sim card.  Need passport photos and scan of passport.  Go back.  Scanned wrong page.  Scan right page.  Go back. Get sim card.  Have to wait til 9:30 pm to activate.  9:30 – miraculous – the sim works!! That was easy!!!  Go on app to book train.  Train cancelled.  Find another train.  Book new train and get to payment page.  International payments don’t work on the app.  Need to use website.  Repeat the above on website.  International payments are down – showing error message. I can see train availability decreasing each time I log on.  I decide to use my nifty new indian number to ring the 24 hour helpline.  After three minutes it says they are too busy and cuts me off.  I check my phone balance.  1mb remaining of 1G.  What??? I’ve been on the internet for half an hour how can I have used nearly a gig? Apparently you can’t ring on this sim or it uses up all your credit.  That’s fine I will top up.  Try to top up.  Airtel doesn’t accept international cards. Gggggggrrrrrrrrrr.  wasted all my credit trying to ring IRCTC and still have no train!!! I managed to find a website that lets you add credit to any phone in the world using paypal which seems to have done the trick however I am under no illusion that this is the end of the fiasco.  And there will be another fiasco at some point so there is just no point in thinking you have it sorted in India, because trust me – you don’t!!! 🙂


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