I woke up to the noise of the alarm, and the A/C, still blowing onto my head. I pulled my blanket to cover my head, as I was reaching for my phone to snooze the alarm. Five more minutes, I was trying to convince myself, but we haven’t packed our stuff yet, and we had about 16 hours before our train ride to settle on souvenirs, packing them up nicely, and make a quick visit to City Palace.
I was a bit worry, I kept checking our ticket as the status shown as RAC last night, I wasn’t sure if we managed to get a bunk, or at least a seat tonight. I don’t have a plan B, if we can make it tonight. We might stranded at the train station or I might be crying and begging, or even bribing the staff at the ticketing counter. I don’t know.
RAC means that our seats are not confirmed, and still under reservation. We will only know if we can make it, 4 hours before the train schedule to depart the station, when the chart is up. Until then, I pray harder someone, or two persons cancelled their ticket so we can have our own, seat at least.
I packed our stuff, placing some souvenirs we bought earlier in a bag and took turns in the shower. We then went to the rooftop to have a breakfast, Indian way. We both were wearing the Punjabi clothes we’d custom-tailored at the Mughal Town. It was lovely, although I think it was quite a bit tight and the neck opening was slightly bigger.
We left our bags at the counter, ‘we will be back, our train departs at 11pm tonight,’ I said, hoping that he’ll let us use the shower room so we can take a bath, although we already checked out. Sneaky.
I did bring some handmade souvenirs from home, paper mache figure that I sculpted and painted myself, and handed one to the owner as a gratitude to his hospitality. I gave one to the factory owner the day before too and liked it. He looked and me and said, ‘Is this God?’ I turned red and said, ‘No, it’s a decoration’ I must be insensitive; I just realize the figure was painted in blue, and their God, the Ramayana has a blue skin-tone. I wasn’t sure if he finds it insulting, but it never crossed my mind to go beyond that. He thanked me, I guess it was okay.
We took a rickshaw to the Pink City again, and went directly to the shop we’ve been surveying the day before, negotiating on saris and some kids’ clothes. It was tough, they made you purchasing more than intended, and we had to stick to our plan and spent following our budget we’ve listed. Once we sorted out everything and stuffed it inside our bags, God, it was heavy. I can’t remember how many meters, we bought, but just enough for our family and close friends.
The weather was sunny, we bought some sodas and snacks on our way to the City Palace. I was actually insisted to go to the City Palace, because of the book cover of my guide book. It was fascinating, I told myself, I have to find this exact door. I must. So what I did was, showing the book to the ticketing person and asked, ‘do you have this, inside’ he muttered in a language I cannot understand, but said, ‘yes’. That’s good enough, I thought, so we went in, and none of the doors are the same as what I’ve been looking for. Not even close.
But the City Palace didn’t disappoint at all, they have a small museum where we learn about their history, the royal carriage, their weapons, which later we started to relate those with the one they use in a Bollywood movie. If you are lucky, you’ll be just in time for a puppet show, it’s amusing. I wasn’t sure their actual schedule but they were halfway of the show when we arrived.
We met a friendly Indian family while resting on one of the benches provided inside the City Palace, they were taking an English couple for a tour which surprisingly the wife has been staying in Penang for quite a while. We had a little chat before they continue with their tour, and we still gulping our sodas and munching some snacks.
After another round wandering around the City Palace, we decided to take a rickshaw back to the guesthouse and refreshed, they let us use the toilet. We repacked our bags and head over to the train station early, the train chart will be up 4 hours before departure, and we still have no clue whether we will be able to on board on the same train or will we missed it. I wanted to be the first person to see it once it’s up.
We spent sometimes wandering around the train station, trying to get a free wifi so I can keep checking our train status online, which later our name appeared on the chart and we made it! We celebrated by stuffing more food while packing some on-board. Jaipur Station, as to other station in India has waiting room which divided into different class according to your booking. Since we book a second class carriage, we managed to wait inside a quite cozy waiting room with A/C and useable toilet (if you get what I mean).
The train arrived on time, and we are thrilled as this is our first sleeping coach in India. We booked a 2nd Class with two-tiered coach, with AC and a small curtain so we can have our own privacy. They will give you a new bed sheet and pillow, and you have to make your own bed. I took the top bunk, took my sleeping bag out and get inside together with my backpack. There’s a small plug where you charged your phone and a reading lamp as they will switch off the lights as they moving so we can have a good sleep. I put my head on the pillow, run through some photos taken from my phone. My eyes feel heavy as the train left the platform, and everything went black. Udaipur, I see you in hours.