Well this morning we were supposed to relax and not set an alarm but turns out Javi naturally woke up at 7am! We appeared from our room a few hours later but the roads were knee high with water from the monsoon rain during the night and the fear with that is not getting soaked, it´s cutting your feet on something unknown and then all the diseases getting in the wound – THAT is scary. So we were kind of trapped in our hotel – we remembered we had noodles and the lovely guys cooked it for us and gave us bowls and spoons and everything, so nice of them. We tipped two of the staff and immediately the other two are told and come and ask for theirs! It´s so funny, it´d be rude anywhere else but here it´s normal, you just have to get used to it! We spent some time giving water to the two cheeky street girls – amazing actresses they really are, they take what they can from you and then as soon as they spot another foreigner they turn on the tap and cry and lay in the road etc, amazing. At 3pm we grabbed a taxi with all our gear and another couple who were actually getting the same train as us but going all the way to Delhi. The train station was mental outside but pretty organised inside – we plonked ourselves on the floor for an hour and then simply got on the train. They print off sheets of paper with every name and where you are seated and stick it to the side of the train on your carriage – I thought that was pretty cool – so there was no problem finding our seats. We had the two bottom bunks of a four bunk section, AC and food included. Wow – the food. I´m going to list it… (we had no idea what we were in for just that the ticket included food and the train left at 5pm and arrived in Gaya at 0.37pm)…
1st snack – yummy samosa with ketchup and a half a sandwich (we went for the veg food option, just in case, we didn´t want dodgy bellies on the train!) and a sweet ball thing and juice
2nd – apparently when I was in the loo they came round with nuts and Javi said no (hey!)
3rd – tomato soup and breadsticks
4th – full meal of rice, bread, veg masala, potato curry, yoghurt
5th – chocolate ice cream
How amazing is that!! Near the end of the trip one of the staff came round for tips and even though the paper on the food trays says no tipping I gave what I had which was only 20rps, bit of an insult to be honest, we later learnt it should be about 20-30 each person but what did we know! He said more, Javi said but it says no tipping (with a smie) and the guy says but you are different… wow Javi´s face, he was not impressed. He asked why and the man retreated out of our curtained section. Jeez.
So we shared our area for the first 2.5hours with a realy lovely man who turned out to be a Police Detective, and the whole area we were travelling through was under his jurisdiction. He told us stories of his wife and her 100 saris, his two young boys, his in laws, his family, his flowers he grows, his huge three storey house, his job, how they are searching for a bride for one of the boys but his own marriage was a ´love marriage´aka not arranged. This, we clicked, was the reason he was so open minded when we answered his questions about western relationships and our life in Bilbao. He also told us he was wearing 3000euros worth of gold and precious stones on on hand! It was true, his rings were beautiful – clearly a man of high position – did not mind sharing our carriage with him at all, and Javi felt better about leaving me alone with him when he went to the loo (he wouldn´t of gone otherwise!) By the time came for him to get off, we had his name and number and an invitation to stay with him in his home and he will show us real Indian food. He was very nice – we were VERY lucky to have him with us for the journey. He told us to call if we have problems with any train, any police, anything in Kolkata – nice to know!
So as arranged by my cousin Raquel there was a guy waiting to drive us to the school. Even in the pitch dark and driving at even crazier speeds here as there is no one on the wide roads, we felt different. The atmosphere felt safe and relaxed and calm. The car got a little stuck going down the track to the school so we got out but by then Raquel and 5 of her resident boys were comign for us with torches. The beautiful boys took our bags off us and we entered this amazing, peaceful oasis of a school. This is where my cousin lives, upstairs, and where the local Dhalit children come to school. Well, selected children as there is not space for all! The classrooms are tidy and covered in arts and drawings. There is a hostel which is only a week old, housing 11 young boys who go to a loca private school but live here to enable them to have further tuition and keep in the right mindset. If they stayed with their families all the education they gain in the day disappears when they get home. So they live together here with a great man who watches over them and guides them with everything they need. These boys have absolutely stolen my heart, I´m not joking. I´m very emotional here and these boys are just little beauts and want to help with EVERYTHING. The way they follow Raquel around is just wonderful and they love to do anything for her, it´s wonderful to see.
We pretty much went straight to bed, after getting reacquainted with my cousin who last saw me when I was about 5, of course I do not remember! Her living quarters are beautiful and clean and cool and I could live here forever – I feel like that already. I sleep in a little single four poster bed – I love it!