On the way to our “First Class Sleeper” train car, we walked past dozens and dozens and dozens of open-air hard seating general cars. They had bars on the windows with very sad faces peering out, with people packed in tightly on hard benches. Thousands of people. It looked like the train to some forced labor camp. I was getting a little worried after walking and walking as we started to near the front of the train and only passed more and more and more of these jail cell train cars. Eventually we found our car though, the only one on the entire massive train, and it only had four private cabins. Three of the cabins had four bunks, and one had two bunks, which is amazingly the one that Martha and I got! Out of this entire massive train that surely was carrying more than 1000 people, we were the only couple with secure, private quarters. When we got in there and were able to lock the door behind us I was like Thank God! Some comfortable sleep without having to keep one eye open. Martha was sure that everything was covered in cooties and leprosy though, and I started accusing her of acting like the blonde lady in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” I’m not gonna lie though, the cabin did kinda look like something out of “Silent Hill.” It definitely wasn’t decorated by Martha Stewart. They passed out some clean sheets though and the A.C. started kicking real good and we both slept pretty well for the four hour ride to New Delhi.
New Delhi is really a relief after Agra and Jaipur. The touts are not on top of their game here, and in general things are a lot cleaner. Didn’t really do much today though… got checked in and settled…. nice hotel with good internet…. We met a couple of local engineering students during lunch and chatted for a while. They mostly wanted to talk about corruption in the Indian government which was pretty interesting. We also rode the New Delhi Metro across town to see the Bahá’í Lotus Temple. First off, the Metro here is surprisingly clean. I mean REALLY clean. All the trains we rode on were built in the last few years, had very smooth and quiet rides, with electronic real-time subway maps and electronic displays everywhere. They really have a very impressive, clean, and safe subway system that is an interesting contrast to some parts of the town. As for the Lotus Temple, it was stunning. They make you check in your shoes as you get onto the grounds and you line up walking quietly (barefoot, which somehow makes you feel a little vulnerable in a place like this) up to the base of the temple. It’s surrounded on all sides by pools of water and really is beautiful from all angles. On the inside, I’ve never heard acoustics like that that weren’t a product of some electronic manipulation. The echoes are just unreal. A couple little kids were in there and they just went crazy at the sound and endless echoes from their own voices. Noise from anywhere in the room seems like it’s coming from all directions. The parents had to muzzle the kids and leave, which was also entertaining.
Anyhow, just a quick update today. I’ll close with a few pics: