Another installment…..Thursday, 31 January. An early start, we got to Victoria Station at 6am to get the train to Margao in Goa. The train, which was pretty ancient, had few mod cons but we were supplied with pillows and blankets so we could get our heads down if need be. I was too interested with what was going on outside to sleep. As we pulled out of Bombay, the city was just starting to come to life. Men with briefcases and children in school uniform were walking along the rail tracks and many of the stations we passed through had burgeoning platforms – and it was still only 7am. Everywhere here is dust and rubbish. Nothing seems to be kept in any decent state of repair but it only adds to the charm. A man chatting on his mobile while riding a motorbike; two women with perfectly groomed hair and jewel-coloured saris collecting scraps of wood; a man pulling a handcart loaded with vegetables; two heavily pregnant dogs squabbling. These are all normal sights. What’s also normal is men hanging around in scrubland close to the tracks, just standing and staring. Some squat down. Obviously, this is their toilet. Nice! I’m not used to seeing people having a dump from my train window. While all this is happening outside, the chai wallah and all the other wallahs went up and down the train selling fabulously delicious food. Periodically, we’d wander into the boiling hot ‘pantry car’ where a myriad of dishes were being prepared in unbelievably cramped conditions – or we’d just hang out at the open doors. With the gentle rocking motion of the train, the refreshing wind and the rolling, dusty countryside passing by, it was pure bliss. more to come…..