Sunday, May 11, 2014


This morning we packed and had a huge breakfast (It was delivered course by course...veggie burgers, fried eggs, fried bread, fruit, juice...)before loading up for the ride into Bongagaon to the train station.  The children circled up for one last goodbye song and another round of handshakes and hugs. Nalini and I have had a chance to bond this year over tea and projects with the kids.  She has seemed to enjoy the times she dropped by to visit in my room.

Lugging our luggage up the train station over bridge is always such a hoot!  Most tourists do not travel as heavy laden as we do!  What is it with us?  The weight of all my gifts for the Burman girls, Ruth Gunter staff and children should have helped make this trek easier, but between Manu, Nalini and Saphna giving me outfits and the various honor towels we have received, my weight is back up to the same level!  I have to get the suitcase down to 15 KG for the flight from Bagdogra to Delhi!

We waited at the top of the landing until they announced the track our train would be using.  Then we hurried back down the correct staircase and wandered along the track trying to guess where car "B4" would stop.  When the train finally came to a stop, we were about six cars away, so we made the wild dash.  Dimbeswar helped us get on board and situated between others already occupying our area.  With our suitcases all stashed, they said their goodbyes and headed back to the village.

We swayed back and forth along the tracks for four hours.  Mark read from his Kindle. Ray visited and dozed.  I cleaned up email and photos from iPad and iPhone while listening to my music.  We were served yet another breakfast with tea, later juice and still later a tiny tomato soup.  Then the young man came by to collect his tips.  He didn't seem to mind how much or how little, but he wouldn't leave without a bill from each passenger!

Getting off the train was more fun than getting on---Not!  We maneuvered luggage out of the racks...but then there was the bottleneck at the door with everyone pushing to get on!  Someone took my suitcase (45#) and threw it off the train into somebody's waiting arms.  By the time I maneuvered my two carry ons in that direction, it was down the way.  I got hold of it and simultaneously sighted Mahendra coming by me.  He pushed on through to help Mark...who didn't want to let him take his bag!  We had two men to carry our large bags on top of their heads...upstairs and down without missing a beat!  The bags had to be strapped to the top of the vehicle in order to accommodate all of us inside!

Our hotel was such a welcome oasis!  Mahendra had printed schedules to give us and discuss before he headed out to shop and home.  We ate a bite and caught up with technology and ate again before drifting off to sleep.

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