Train or plane? Train or plane?

Can you believe that we’ve arrived now at our last hotel and for the first time on our trip we’ve had problems accessing the Internet? Everywhere we have been they have had Wifi and everywhere else except Delhi this has been free. That’s New India for you. However, when we got here the Wifi was down so it prevented me updating until now. Not because it was down for all that time but because we have been incredibly busy having the most fantastic time!
Anyway, before all of that we have been reflecting on our modes of transport and the question in the title was one I posed yesterday at Jaipur Airport whilst we were waiting for our flight to Amritsar. Needless to say the answer was a resounding PLANE. I then went on to do a small survey of my fellow travellers to ask whether looking back on it would they have missed the overnight train experience out? You see, I wouldn’t have missed it now for the world but I am afraid my fellows all gave another rather definite YES (they would have missed it out thank you).
So how come the girls are so strongly in favour of the plane mode of transport? Well our trip from Jaipur to here is a perhaps a good example of why. We left the hotel at 5.30pm and checked in about an hour and a half before our flight was due to leave firstly to Delhi. The journey was extremely civilised and we arrived in Delhi bang on time. Then we had a 4 hour wait for the flight to Amritsar. Lets compare this with the wait in the 1st class train waiting room shall we? Well here we really did do some shopping. Firstly for some nice gift items in the craft shop and then most importantly for some drugs in the pharmacy. Joyce and Enid had finally given in and decided they needed to get something other than Imodium to treat their stomachs. So without hassle here they could pick up lots of mystery pills purporting to be anti-biotics and pro-biotics. They cost about £2 so I decided that although I’d been feeling a lot better I might as well get the same as my mates. No problem.
Then we went up to the food hall and guess what was waiting there for me? Yes indeed a newly opened Costa Coffee. Naturally I had my usual croissant and a cappuccino and Jane had a doughnut from another outlet. Joyce and Enid needed to eat some food with their new drugs and so they gave up all that good work on the vegetarian diet and went and got a Sausage and Bacon McMuffin and a cup of tea from McDonalds! How low can you stoop!!
Then we went off to a bar so that Jane could watch the cricket on the big screen TV. You see the trains have a long way to go if they are going to compete. Virgin opportunity perhaps?
We arrived early at Amritsar airport and met our new guide Randeep. He is a Sikh guy as are a lot of the people here obviously as the Golden Temple is their sacred place. He took us to our latest hotel the Ranjit Svaasa. It’s an old heritage home and a beautiful rambling old building with some really lovely parts like the lounge I’m in now which is full of antique furnishings and plush upholstery but also some funny bits where they’re doing building work or just where the chic has worn off and it just looks shabby. Sorry. Our rooms were up on the top floor and Joyce and Enid had a lovely huge room more like a suite whereas ours was rather more like a broom cupboard with no bath, fridge and most importantly for the cricket fan- no TV. We were quickly swapped….
Anyway we now had a free afternoon so we decided to make the most of the spa facilities again. This time Jane joined in as well. Joyce and Enid had Indian head and face massages which they thought v good whereas Jane and I decided to try the Karl Pilkington Spa Treatment. This involves having to wear nought but a pair of skimpy paper pants, lying on an old door and in Jane’s case being pummelled with something in an old sock (snooker ball?) and in my own case being rubbed down from head to toe in oil of cloves. At one point I rubbed my nose and thought it was going to fall off the oil burned so much. Jane also had a couple of mosquito bites thrown in for good measure.
Anyway there wasn’t really time after this to have a proper shower as it was time to get off to the Golden Temple. I’m afraid therefore that the oil didn’t really come off and I stank to high heaven still of clove oil. Still seemed to keep the Mosquitos away from me!
Now then we were going for our nighttime visit to the Golden Temple and it totally and utterly deserves a post all of its own-tomorrow……



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