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Day 4: Mumbai to Goa

Sleeper class on the Mondovi Express

The flight arrived ni Mumbai more or less on time.

I had booked berths in a couple of trains (in case one fell through). If I could make it to Vasai Road Station in about 90 minutes, I'd make it to the train on time.

Asked a taxi driver, hoping to make a fare, how long it would take to get from the airport to Vasai Station. He told me about 2 hours. After I explained that I needed to catch a train in less than an hour, the estimated time of arrived went from 2 hours to 1. Hmmm... I said it was OK, I would catch my other train instead, but he was quite persistent that he could make it. Tired from sleeping all day, who was I to disagree.

It was like I was in a chase scene in a Hollywood movie. At speeds up to 130km/h on busy streets intended for 40km/h traffic, death was a legitimate concern. We arrived 10 minutes before my train was supposed to leave. I thought I took video along the way, but apparently I didn't press Record.

Unfortunately, not understanding the layout of the station, I was on the commuter side of the station. I waited for my train at the brightly lit platform. As I did, little did I known that my train was leaving from one of the dark until platforms, six tracks over.

It took me a while to realize that I had missed my train. I asked a lot of people about it, by no one spoke English. Finally I found the Station Manager who explained that he looked for me at that track, but I wasn't there. That train would have been a first-class air-conditioned single occupancy berth.

I figured out how to take the commuter train to the Dadar station in Bandra so that I could catch the Mondovi Express a few hours later. By this time it was about 4 in the morning and I was surrounded by very sleepy commuters on their way to work.

It had been a long time since I had anything to eat or drink, and I didn't have any rupees. Luckily there were ATMs at Dadar station, so I took out some money and got some breakfast.

My train arrived more or less on time, my berth waiting for me. I had the upper-side berth in Sleeper class. Each car seats or sleeps 72 people, separated into sections, each with 2 side berths against one side, and two sets of 3 berths across from each other, perpendicular to the side, like this:

Sleeper class layout

Sleeper class is not air conditioned, and it was in daytime configuration, meaning the middle bunks were decommissioned to let people sit. With the windows open, the lack or air conditioning wasn't really an issue. After trying to stay awake, I gave in and crawled up to my bunk, and slept pretty much the whole way to Goa, or about 12 hours. It did get pretty hot up there during the daylight hours. Toward the end of my journey I had a couple of samosas on the train.

Upon arrival I took a taxi to Porvorim, and with a few stop for directions, ultimately pulled up at the house just as Ulrike was standing outside.

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