I'm in Singapore Okay Lah??


After a 24+ hour journey from Kadod to Singapore, taking a few rickshaws, buses, an overcrowded train and a Kingfisher airplane, I finally made it!

I hopped on a Bardoli-bound rickshaw leaving Kadod and, for the first time, experienced what morning rush-hour means in the villages. The rickshaw, at best, can comfortably seat 7 passengers. By the time I reached Bardoli, I counted at least 18 squeezing into, dangling off of and climbing onto the rickshaw. I say at least because I couldn't count how many had hopped onto the roof during the trip.

I got on a bus heading to Surat where my train would be leaving to Mumbai. I let out a sigh of relief as I sank into an empty seat, glad that there wouldn't be unknown elbows and shoulders driving into my sides. I took out my iPod to start listening to some tunes and sadly realized that when I had updated my iPod the night before, it had only synced one album back on: the soundtrack to 3 Idiots. Aal iz well...

My train to Mumbai was scheduled to leave at 11:25am, so I had about an hour to kill. I decided to grab breakfast at a restaurant on the second level of the train station where I struck up a conversation with one of the workers named Javit. I told him that I'm teaching English in Kadod for a year, and when he asked me if I knew any Gujarati, I said I hardly knew any. He gave me a crash course on some important phrases, and after a half hour or so, he told me that my Gujarati was perfect. I highly doubted that, but I thanked him for the compliment.

Javit offered to take me to the platform I needed to wait on for my train, and thank goodness he did. I bought a second class train ticket not knowing what I had gotten myself into. For the 5 hour ride to Mumbai, it was each and every person's desire to be lucky enough to snag a seat on one of the pull-down beds in the train compartments. Otherwise, it would be standing-room only for the entire trip. Lacking the seasoned tenacity of most of the travelers swarming around me, I was at a natural disadvantage, but that's where Javit stepped in to save the day. As the train was coming to a halt, he spotted an empty seat through a caged window and threw his work hat to "reserve" the seat for me. He told me to hurry in and find the hat before someone moves or steals it, so I threw myself into the back of the surging crowd of people fighting its way onto the train. In the midst of all the chaos, my watch was torn off and wallet almost stolen as I felt a hand reach into my back pocket. When I was finally able to get both feet onto the train, I searched from compartment to compartment for Javit's hat, and luckily enough, his trick worked. I threw his hat back to him through the window and thanked him enormously for his help.

My flight's departure time was at 11:00pm. I knew I'd be really early, but I figured I could find a coffee shop or something of the sort inside the airport to relax and read a book to pass the time. I approach the entrance and was stopped by two men in uniform. They checked my passport and reservation and told me that travelers are not allowed to enter the airport until 3 hours before their scheduled departure. I told them that I had no where else to go and that I all I wanted was a place to relax. In a completely unnecessary move, one of the officers put a hand on his rifle and told me that he would only give me one warning to step away. Great. I found an abandoned Smart Carte, propped it up against a wall along the curb, and waited out the 3 hours reading a book and listening to my new favorite Bollywood songs.

The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful. I touched down in Singapore at around 7am local time, exhausted but also extremely excited about what I'll be experiencing (eating) in Singapore! More updates to come in Singapore!


Tim said...

Epic travel story!

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