Woke up this morning not feeling particularly great… Last nights curry was threatening to make an appearance at any moment!! Got up, dressed and made it to the bus station in a miraculous way that didn’t involve me throwing up all over the road or myself. Having visited the bus station a couple of days before, we knew that the bus from Khajuraho to Satna would take about 3 hours (for 100km). As our train was at 12.30pm, we decided to catch the 7.30am bus to give us plenty of time for the bus to change tyres / get lost / fall down a massive pothole and/or all of the above. The bus journey was incredibly slow and tedious. The bus driver decided to drive at lightening speed down certain sections of the road causing us to lift completely off our seats at several times. He then would wait for really long periods of time at bus stands waiting for passengers. At one point, we drove through the Panna Tiger Reserve. Part of me was secretly hoping to see a tiger but, with the amount the driver was using his horn, it was unlikely!!! Saw a load of angry looking monkeys though and some beautiful scenery. I fell asleep soon afterwards, still trying to keep my dinner down, whilst Jayne munched through some vegetable pakora on her broken bus seat. When I woke up it was 11.30am – we had been on the road for 4 hours at this point and were still nowhere near our destination to catch our train to Varanasi. Both of us started to feel a bit anxious as, apart from the train, we had no idea how to get from Satna to Varanasi. As we both watched the kilometres go down on the mapsme app, we did think we were going to make it… Until the bus pulled into a petrol station!! Suddenly each passing minute seemed to fly by as the driver and conductor had a chat. Pulled into a stop about 1km from the train station with 10 minutes to go, so we jumped into a tuktuk (without negotiating a price!), sped off towards the train station, threw the driver 50INR (which he was incredibly happy with!) and ran into the station. Indian train stations are brilliant because the board with the train information is always ready with the information needed to help tourists get to the right platform. Except this one wasn’t working! A quick dash up and down the platform, asking the tourist information stand and a train guard – both of whom gave us different information. Ended up on platform 2 and 3 whilst keeping a beady eye out on platform 1 just in case the train pulled in there. A local lady asked if we needed some help and it turns out she was on the same train so we began to feel slightly better. Turns out the train was 40 minutes late so we sat down and calmed down! Got on the train to find out that people were in our seats (again!). As I was now feeling even worse than when I was on the bus, I really wanted/needed the lower bunk. Took a while to get it sorted and when it was, I literally fell into bed and slept straight away. Jayne entertained herself for the seven hour train journey by watching ‘The Matrix’ and ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ whilst I slept and did shuttle runs to the toilet. Arrived in Varanasi and got a TukTuk from the station to as far as vehicles can go. Continued rest of our journey on foot. Got a little bit lost in the narrow alleyways but eventually found the guesthouse where they were worried that either we had been convinced to go to another guesthouse or that our train was still delayed (apparently, trains to Varanasi are renowned for being incredibly late!). Was shown the rooftop before I fell asleep again whilst Jayne tried to download a surprise for me on iTunes.
Thursday 10th December 2015.