Another long long train-journey, longer than the one from Chennai to Varanasi a few weeks ago. This time I travelled from Mumbai to Trivandrum in Kerala state, south India. My train left Mumbai Central Station at 15:45 on Friday and arrived in Trivandrum Central Station just before 10am on Sunday.
As a result, I was on one single train for 42 hours in total. This is definitely the longest train-journey I've ever done in my life. My seat was in the 2A class and the fare was about INR2,600 (about USD50). But it was very basic and very disappointing again despite the fact that there was no 1st class and the 2A class was supposedly the top class on this train.

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Perhaps the last time I did a very uncomfortable long overnight journey was when I travelled from Dakar to Bamako in January 2012 - 30 hours on a single bus with no ACs and no toilets inside. However, this train journey kind of surpassed it in a different way. The train was the most uncomfortable and I had the most horrible sleep ever in India!
The below is the story of what happened to me in seat number 25 of A1 Carriage;


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My neck and feet became itchy all of a sudden. I woke up scratching them just after midnight. I first thought of getting mosquito-bites, but I didn't see them nor did I hear anything buzzing around. I got up, put on repellent cream roughly over my arms, legs and neck and tried to go back to sleep. I was tired.

Half an hour later, I woke up again and noticed "something" sneaking around under the sheet in my bed. Indian guy Lawrence from Kochin who I just met on this train because his seat/bed was across from mine also woke up scratching his legs and arms. We looked at each other; 'Something is here, isn't it? And it's not a mosquito!"
I turned on my flashlight and took a thorough look at my pillow and sheets. Then I spotted a little brownish bug underneath my pillow and it was just about to escape from the shinning beam of my flashlight. This tiny bug looked very familiar to me because I'd been bitten by similar bugs a few months earlier in Durban, South Africa. I instantly concluded from my finding that this was a bed bug.

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Lawrence also found a couple of them in his bed and then we went ballistic! Like cockroaches, when we see one, expect a thousand more around there!
I frantically began searching for them on the sheet, behind the sheet, inside the sheet, on the back of the pillow, all around my seat/bed, around my bag, even inside my bag.... I actually found at least 30 of them and squeezed them all with my Swiss army knife. But the fight wasn't over yet.

Half an hour later, as soon as I turned off the light and lied down in bed, I noticed new ones coming out of nowhere. Presumably, there were still hundreds of them around our beds, and possibly thousands more inside this whole train whose cabin-seats were all made of wood. I nearly became a psycho.

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After engaging in fierce fighting against these sneaky bastards for a while, Lawrence and I eventually gave in to them. We woke a very sleepy conductor at 2:30am and told him about our miserable war. He then moved us to another beds which looked to us less infested with the bugs.
Although we got more than a few itchy bites, by the time we were placed to new beds, we were too tired and sleepy for another possible fight. We quickly fell asleep like babies.

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The next morning Lawrence and I were woken up around 6:30am by a canteen-guy calling out so loudly:
"Chai Chai Chai, eih?!"

Ahhh..... What a sleepless night it was.
And I had to spend another night in the same carriage with long-lasting itchy bites all over my body. The worst train-journey ever!!!


!!!!! Note !!!!!
It's been almost three weeks since I landed in "Incredible India?!" and there have been so many things that I've had to put up with or I've just simply had to ignore on a daily basis. It seriously makes me wonder why I'm travelling in India right now as I cannot recall any other countries where I had to be this much patient and tolerant. After all, this is not fun anymore.
This bed-bug-cursed train eventually dropped me off in sticky-hot Trivandrum where beaches are said to be some of the best ones in India and they are also surfable. Furthermore, I'm catching up with Rod and Priscila here again. As much as I'm looking forward to all the things I want to do in Trivandrum, I'm making my departure date of India earlier than initially planned. No more struggling, no more haggling, and no more fighting with bugs for me!
Travelling solo isn't always easy or fun. Nonetheless, I still tell myself every now and then that it essentially has to be fun.
Here in India, I've found myself becoming very grumpy, disgusted, and even victimized of bed-bugs. If there was a plane right in front of me to fly out of India now, I would be over the moon and jumping straight into it with no hesitation.

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