On arrival in Delhi arranged hire of car from Banyan for afternoon
(1,500 Rupees for four hours - hotel would have charged about
60% more). Good, helpful driver with good English. Went to Safdarjang's
Tomb and Lodhi Gardens, both worthwhile. Nearly fell for collecting
for blind school scam. Very hot.
The Claridges, Delhi. Our hotel for all nights in Delhi. A very gracious
place with nice rooms and a high standard of service without
being overpowering. Excellent breakfasts, good light evening
meals in Pickwicks rather thena full dining rooms which looked
a bit grand.
Day with booked guide. Started at Jama Masjid then spent several
hours walking in Old Delhi (plus cycle rickshaw) and having things
explained to us before going to Red Fort. Good day.
Major cock-up by guide in Guwahati so only just caught train
to Delhi (31 hour trip) even though it was over an hour late.
Interesting to see India from train, whether it was poverty around
major stations or general life in rural areas. Not much variety
Train 2435 Guwahati-New Delhi 7 November
(Dibrugarh Town Rajdhani)
Just the two of us in a coupe in what looked like fairly standard
stock. Comfort of seat improved once we worked out it had a back
which could be raised from bunk configuration. Reasonably clean
compartment, toilets variable but cleaned during journey. Lunch/dinner
order taken (veggy or non-veggy - former seemed best way to avoid
bones) and served over about two hours in three stages. Also
morning tea and evening tea (about 1600). Food good but a bit
repetitive. Pleasant staff with some English. Linen, pillow and
blanket provided but bunks not made up. Good steady ride and
reasonably quiet. Air conditioning effective. Overall a very
acceptable if rather long trip. Scenery better and more interesting
on first day.
Arrived Delhi to find no guide waiting for us. Eventually ended
up in iffy 'taxi' wanting exorbitant fare but on arrival at hotel
got staff to negotiate fair rate.
Car for morning, went to Humayuni's Tomb, very interesting site.
Surrounded by kids from huge school group all wanting to shake
hands. Then to Purana Qila where walls and mosque very good.
Kids in less frequented parts were pests all saying 'hello dollar'
and possibly prepared to throw stones at non-producers of same
(moral - stick to areas with visiting adults around). Vintage
overnight train to Abu Road.
Train 2958 New Delhi-Abu Road 9 November
(Ahmedabad Juncn Rajdhani)
Again in a coupe but this time in vintage stock which had a certain
appeal. Toilets surprisingly good. Otherwise generally as previous
journey. Good solid ride although older bogies had typical tendency
to hunt on welded track. Dinner (served rather slowly to each
diner) and cup of tea first thing. Good trip.