Part 4 of a Two Day Train Journey
Day 1: part 1 | part 2 : Day 2: part 3
And on and on we went, on this seemingly eternal train journey. Through the city of Guntur, distinguished among other things for having the largest chili market in Asia. It’s also home to a rich arts tradition, with festivals for theatre and literature. Oh, and it also has caves.
Finally, we chug-chug-chugged into the station at Hyderabad, only 5 hours late. Then we caught a tuk-tuk to our Airbnb. But we had to wait about 15 minutes outside, because there was nobody to let us in at first.
Then we got settled into our digs for the next three days — not luxurious but adequate, even though there was no hot water. And we were greeted by a couple of cockroaches, but also by an equal number of lizards to level the playing field.
Then we went out trying to round up some grub, and discovered that a decent supermarket was nowhere to be found. But there were at least a few produce stands in the vicinity. And, wonder of wonders, there was an ATM from our own bank at which we could withdraw some funds without paying fees.
During this excursion, we encountered the heaviest traffic we’d seen in India yet — and that’s saying a lot. The major streets were so clogged with tuk-tuks and motorbikes, and a smattering of cars and trucks and buses, that you hardly could have inserted a toothpick between them. Yet they still managed to maneuver and make progress toward their destinations somehow.
And it wasn’t just the streets; the sidewalks also were fair game. We had to be cautious in walking along a major street, because the riders of motorbikes who got a little antsy would just zoom right up onto the sidewalk. And we don’t mean just a few of them; there were hordes and hordes of them doing this. Apparently this was standard practice here.
While this was the first time we’d witnessed traffic and driving behavior like this, it wouldn’t be the last.
July 5, 2022