I just got an email from the online agency where I had booked the Heathrow Lodge, the budget hotel I stayed in during last week’s brief London layover. They want my review of the experience. Too late. This detailed indictment had already been drafted and was being made ready for publication when that request arrived.
By the time I arrived in Mumbai, I had a fever of 102f (I keep a thermometer and a small first aid kit in my toilet kit). Every deep breath and cough caused a powerful, sharp pain in my lower lungs. I was sweating and shivering at the same time. I was panting and slightly delirious. I suspected pneumonia – or worse.
By now, my fantasy of “Overnight Train to x x x ” has been exposed as poor romance, frustrating adventure and less than ideal transportation. Guess what? The overnight train from Mathura Junction to Mumbai reset the template. From the moment of arrival on the platform at the Mathura Station, to getting down on the platform in Mumbai Central, it was the train ride I’d been anticipating but didn’t find between Delhi and Varanasi – or between Varanasi and Agra.
I am not one for souveniers. They just add to the baggage. Back in high school, studying Ceaser’s Gallic Wars, I learned that the Roman military word for baggage is “impedimenta”; just something that gets in the way.
The Emperor Franz Joseph famously complained that Mozart’s music has “too many notes.” My version of that, probably as lazy and ill-informed as his, says there are too many choices online for buying air tickets.