Random party breaks out on long train journey

Impromtu train carriage show

During a train ride from Delhi to Pune in November, the berth just opposite my bunk happened to be filled with random musicians. WIth encouragement from much of the rest of the carriage, they took to song for several hours in the middle of our overnight journey.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Actually sang me to sleep at one point. Click play above to listen.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

U.K. train stations know what’s what

I do like a good train

Glasgow Central, full of metal and light and people going and waiting and going some more. I love it. Far better than any station I’ve traveled through in the states.

Tags: , , , , ,

Lonely footwear

Lost flip flop next to one of my Reefs for comparison

On a railroad foot bridge in Bikaner, some small child lost a flip flop. Probably as a parent lifted the kid to catch a train.

Tags: , , , , , ,

I like trains

Everyone is one a journey

Everyone is on a journey

Readers of this blog know of my enjoyment of train travel.

I also like train stations. Everybody is headed somewhere; even the average Joe or Jane has a sense of purpose, of direction, of momentum, of excitement, of longing to be there.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Kids in the night

All the wanted was candy

They just wanted candy

The train from Kisumu cuts through beautiful Kenyan bush as the sun sets over a low but sharply rising line of mountains. I was in the second-class sleeper cabin, but the third class cars are filled with Kenyans, many of whom get down at small villages in the dead of night.

At each stop, motorbikes line up like taxis at the airport hoping to ferry passengers and all manner of goods off into the night.

And kids run along side the upper class cars shouting “Sweets!” at the rich people. The four German women in the compartment next to mine were happy to oblige.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Train to Kisumu offers brief glimpse of rural Kenya

After three days largely kicking back in Nairobi, I took the overnight train west to Kisumu, which is Kenya’s third largest city. It’s a clean, warm, charming city, with a decent expat community on the shores of Lake Victoria. But it’s hardly a tourist haven (I was one of only three foreigners on the 15-hour train ride.) and feels more laidback, authentic and safe than Nairobi.

I’ve come to Kisumu principally to meet up with Shannon, who has been here for several weeks working on public health projects. It was Shannon who convinced me to include a stop in Africa before heading to India.

The train is a throwback to transportation decades ago — old, worn compartments, vinyl seats, lights and fans that don’t work. Dinner was served on china and 15 minutes into the ride, an attendant came to neatly unfurl bedding and wool blankets in each berth.

Continue reading this entry » » »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,