LOG ENTRY 32
Finally I arrived back to Delhi, passed through Bhopal, experiencing some of the effects left from the chemical disaster and the train ahead of mine got bombed as well.
|Rider's Log....... Lifelong journey around the world||
As the evening approached I had my dinner and started to get comfortable for the night. Little I knew here about our diversion. At first I did not notice that we are diverted, my second time on this crazy long line and in India you never really know why things happening anyway. All I noticed is the locals on the train started to get frustrated and uneasy and they were telling me that something wrong with the train ahead of us and the railway tracks are closed so we have to make a detour. Sometimes, middle of the night we rolled into a train station and stopped. Normally when the train stops for a longer time I just grab my backpack and wander of to the platform, check out the kiosk, buy some refresher or just have a cigarette. I had the same plan this time as well, only until I stepped off the carriage and faced the most terrible sight I had in India so far.
Train stations and beggars are like twin sisters in India. Apart from Goa, every station I passed through or been to had a large amount of beggars. Some even lived under the platforms and whenever a train roll into the station they jump up from underneath the platform, board the train, take off their shirt and start to clean the floor front of yo in a hope of a few rupees. However, this station had no jumping beggars, neither fast walking ones, all I could see is crawling, disfigured and mutated poor souls shadowing the station. It took me a few minute to realize that we are way off course and we just stopped in the infamous city of Bhopal. The Bhopal chemical plant disaster happened in 1984 with over 4000 deaths and an estimated 500 thousand injuries when the pesticide factory leaked various toxic gases on the sleeping city. Death toll since then varies in different estimations but even the modest government estimations suggest over 4000 severely and permanently disabled people.
After about two hours the train finally left Bhopal but the memories of the place will stay with me forever. The remaining part of the journey was rather uneventful and the train rolled into Delhi with a severe late. From the station I headed right to the embassy to get a shower and some good food. They told me there that the train ahead of mine was bombed around Jaunpur, hence our detour and my Mom already called them as she was not sure which train I was on. I have to stop here for a second and say a few good words about the embassy employees here in Delhi. Until India and even after I never had any good experience with the Hungarian embassies around the world except here in Delhi. Any time we needed something, let it be free food, advise, a hot shower or just a little garden of sanctuary from the craziness, they were always open for us and always helped to the fullest. Later on we stayed in the compound as well but that is an other, later story.
So yeah, they also called Mom for me, she was really happy to hear my voice. She told me that the train bombing was all over the news as lots of people died and it happened on the same route as my train and in addition, I did not tell her which train I will go back to Delhi as I couldn't find an internet cafe in Goa. At least now she is half relaxed. She is still worrying about Dad. Apparently he bought four bottles of high pressured chain spray and asked the Air France check in whether it is permitted on the flight. They said yes so Dad brought two on-board in his carry on luggage and two in the hold. However, as the aircraft was about to taxi out at Charles de Gaulle airport, security stuff came on board, confiscated two bottles, frightening the passengers around Dad and later on called Mom, as she booked the ticket, that whether Dad has more on him because it is unsafe to carry the pressurized bottles. What a non sense, especially that he asked about it before hand. To read the remaining part of the day, how Dad got back and how we went to collect our bikes the next day, please come back tomorrow for LOG ENTRY 33.