Oh, what a day… After the last update, we dashed back to the hotel where I dashed to the nearest lavatory. My stomach’s still not completely happy with the world.
We were in good time to grab our bags and get our pre-paid lift back to the train station for the 16:25 train to Calcutta, from where we had a 11:20 flight to Dhaka. We couldn’t spot the train on the departures board, so we asked one of the guards which platform it was from. “None yet – delayed. One hour.”
I needed the loo again and for some reason the train station had decided to target a narrow group. Only male westerners had to pay to go wee-wee. There was no custodian at the female toilet, and Indians walked quite happily in and out of the gents while white men had to fork out some number of rupees.
Well, I only had a 25 Pais coin on me (quarter of a rupee), and I certainly wasn’t going to hand over paper money. Especially as I knew there wouldn’t be any paper awaiting me inside for me to use. Besides, part of my lavatorial trips recently had been purely risk-based. To make an old rhyme more relevant:
Here I sit all broken hearted,
Paid ten Rupees and only farted.
So I strode back to our waiting area, slightly uncomfortable but not prepared to gamble 10Rp on my dodgy tummy. Mind, if I gambled the other way the dry cleaning bill would have been significantly higher. It was only an hour to wait for the train, so not to worry.
17:10 arrived and we walked to platform 6 where we’d been told the train would be arriving. Only it didn’t. We met two German tourists there who informed us there had been another hour-long delay.
Off we trudged back to the entrance hall as it was more spacious, where we watched the tourist chap literally kick a small child up the backside to stop him begging off the tourists.
18:10 arrived… and our train, which was on the board by now, swiftly became the 19:10 express. And then the 19:40.
By now, assuming the train still took 14 hours, there was no way on earth we would catch our flight. Argh. And the Biman Bangladesh offices were, by now, shut.
What do you do when you’re rapidly starting to panic about your flights in India? You call Prashant and he digs out all the phone numbers you need and promises to call on your behalf in the morning while you’re still stuck on the train.
The journey itself was one of the more comfortable as we were in AC2, so somewhat less cramped. Company was good with a middle-aged Indian chap, a girl from the UK called Jen and a French guy called – stereotypically – Pierre.
We got dinner, chatted and the Indian guy curled up in bed. And we still hadn’t left the station. I think we’d moved about 50 yards by this point. Unbelievable. The whole trip was stop/start – seemingly more time stationary than in motion – but we somehow made it to Calcutta station by 11:00 precisely the next morning.