Argh! We only slept for 4 hours! We woke up at 5am local time (India was 2.5 hours behind Malaysia). Lucky we didn’t unload all things from the bag. After cleanse here and there (it was freaking cold, so who cares), we checked out from the best budget hotel and walked to the New Delhi Train Station. We had a 6.15am train to catch. The good thing about this location was it is darn NEAR to the train station and metro station. 10 minutes walk! Even WITH kitchen-sized kettle in your luggage! Hahaha! *Look at Chawana’s face.*
Since last night was a bit drizzle, the road was quite muddy and wet.
Tips : Don’t get excited to play with puddles! Coz the chances for rainwater to unify with Indians’ urines are 100%! Haha!
Along the way, unlike tuk-tuk drivers, cycle-rickshaws kept on offering their ride to us. Even though you can hear the train noise and the train station gate was there right in front of you, they still try to shoot.
Approaching the train station, we saw hundreds of tuk-tuk parking bumper to bumper, inside the station area. I must say they, the drivers, slept there. My guess was right when I saw more and more local homeless sleeping on the floor, regardless at the station compound or in the waiting room, curling up and covering the whole body with wool blanket.
“Oh my goodness…they really sleep here? Husband, wife, kids, grandma, great grandma, and dog?” I sighed.
We headed to the entrance before the main entrance and saw ourselves lost in translation. The notice boards were in Hindi. Such an old and outdated environment…BUT we managed to book online??? The power of Indian IT. Hehehe!
Tips : From New Delhi to Agra, you may purchase a train ticket of Shatabdi Express (Bhopal - New Delhi) where one of the stoppages is Agra Cantt. They claimed it is the super fast of the fast series. Haaaaa! Remember, the distance from New Delhi to Agra is 701km...eh no, 190km (c0rrected by hubby). Wait until you see the train huh…
Since we bought the first class seats, how bad could it be? We walked towards the main entrance and looked for any hints, such as tourist and Indian businessmen. I looked at the ticket and it stated Platform E1. I looked up, right in front of us was C1.
“Where is E1? Another issue…this side or that side?” We wondered. COZ THE TRACK WAS SUPER LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG! You can’t even see what’s at the end of both sides.
Hubby and I tried to walk further to the right and asked Chawana to stay there since they have bags and Aqilah to carry. Then we saw E1 further up the corridor, almost the furthest platform we could see. We called Chawana and we stood there for about 20 minutes, before more and more middle class faces turned up. So, we were at the right place lah.
It was still dark. The train crew made themselves ready to load the breakfast on train. Homeless now started to wake up and brushed their teeth…right on the station corridor, facing the track!
Locals now started to buy some cheap tea for breakfast. And guess what?
They spitted again.
Elderly now started to chew ‘sireh’. And what else?
They spitted also lah. Right next to you, you knowwwww...
Tips : Never lean back on the wall, or sit on the floor. You might ended with someone’s saliva on your pants.
Then there it was…Shatabdi Express. In blue. Looking…gorghhh…wait!
“HUH??? IS THIS THEIR FASTEST TRAIN? BURUK NYERRRRRRRR!" (SO UGLY!) We shouted.
The bag carriers were rushing, walking fast and in fact, they were running, carrying those tourists and businessmen bags, except for us. Haha! Why bother when you can carry on your own, for free. I grabbed the stroller, hubby grabbed Chawana’s trolley bag, while Chawana carried each one of them a backpack. We quickly hiked the steps and entered the one and only first class coach.
Amazingly, we had the most special and comfortable seating in the whole coach, as we our seating came with table. Anyhow, we didn’t get to sit facing each other. Chawana faced the Indians, while we faced the Americans.
Tips : Don’t ask how we get the seating. Hubby won’t tell as HE ALSO DOESN’T KNOW.
When other train company is famous for delay interruption, this train departed on time. Once the train started to move, there was a crew, complete with red and maroon uniform, served us with Hindustan Times. (Yeah, SRK is shooting in Malaysia that day.)
A few minutes later, he came again and brought Rail Neer drinking water, with paper cup.
Before you had a sip of the bottled water, he came again to bring you a rose! Like Chawana said in her blog, it could be the leftovers from Valentine’s Day, the day before. Hahaha!
Before you finished laughing, he came again! This time with a tray of tea kit, creamer, sweets and cookies. Oh my godddd! Didn’t they stop? But we kind of liking it!
Once in a while we looked out and saw lines of locals down the track, outside their sad-condition home, with a bottle in hand and no-feeling face, in squatting position, brushing their teeth, DOING THEIR ‘BUSINESS’, while watching the train passed by.
GREAT! We were drinking with a very ‘incredible’ view. What an Incredible India.
Back to the crew service. Don’t be surprise! Right after you finished your tea, the crew came with another tray. He collected our drinks and put down hearty brown bread, strawberry jam, cornflakes, and he poured warm milk in the bowl. At this point, the Americans looked surprise.
“Do you eat cereal with warm milk in your country?” The wife asked us while looking how excited we ate.
“Ya…actually, both, warm and cold. But warm is nicer.” I saw the husband didn’t eat a thing.
“Owh…coz we always have it in cold milk. Well, I’ll try.”
That is why you always see Americans take cold milk from the fridge, whenever they want to eat cereal. So we have ‘contaminated’ one American brain. Hahaha! We started to chat with them and talked about their hometown (Boston) and compared it with Houston, where we once visited. They had a very huge surprise when we told them how we traveled, where we went, and what we did. They said they would want to try some of the fun too, IF they are still young. To counter that, the wife even asked us to try the glacier walking but she cried of doing so. Hahaha! She then taught us how to use flash, how to take motion pictures, this and that, like she has bigger camera than us. Haha! Nice couple.
We stopped laughing for a second when the same crew, came over and handed in our lunch.
“WOW! They really don’t stop serving the first class! Hahaha!”
Tips : Purchase first class seating for space, comfort, and service. If you dare to be ‘local’, feel free to do so.
We opted for vegetarian that offered potato, scrambled eggs and spread of beans. Quite eatable, I must say. While eating, we looked out to find a nice view. Approaching the Agra town, the village became nearer to the train track, and villagers STILL happily DID their ‘business’. There’s no excuse for nature calls huh? AT THE SAME TIME WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS?
Fine! You want to beat me? I'll do it in Indian style.
Tips : You can choose to do it in Indian Style or Western Style. Both are available in this train. I must say Indian style is better, coz you will see it went down straight away, right on the track! Hahaha!
GREAT! We were eating with a very ‘incredible’ view. Again, what an Incredible India.
For history element, read Travelista's version here (in English)
For trip experience, read Chawana's version here (in Bahasa)