We begin our journey home. Collected from The Tigress Hotel at 06h15 we bumped our way down the dirt track for the last time, at least this time in a car with working lights so we could see the potholes. We have a short drive from Ranthambore to the railway station at Sawai Madhopur where there is the usual combination of beggars and people sleeping everywhere in and around the station. Shoyab,our very nice fixer, arranged for a Porter to stay with us and put the bags on when the train arrived. As we had time to kill we were chatting with him and I wandered off as I’d seen a pig near the fence and as I’m “The Hog Whisperer” thought I’d have a word.
Indian pigs are scrawny, hairy, razorbacked creatures who appear to fulfil the role as main contributors to street cleansing. They fit into a strange slot being ignored by the Muslims as unclean and the Hindus seem to respect all forms of life to a greater or lesser extent and the pigs just seem to get on with it. Over by the fence I grunted at the pig, who looked surprised but grunted back and soon we were grunting away happily to each other until Mrs Sixwheeler called me away before people thought that I was weird. As if.
The train was seated class again, comfortable and clean if a bit dated and the six and a half hour journey was never boring as there’s always plenty to see on an Indian railway journey.
We rolled into Delhi only a little bit late but there was the most almighty scrum trying to get up the stairs from the platform but our local fixer knew another way out to the car. Escape from the car park was made difficult as Friday Prayers was going on at the adjacent mosque with worshippers spilling onto the pavement and road outside, but we were very careful.
The journey across town to our hotel near the airport took sn hour as Delhi was mostly gridlocked even on a Saturday and by the time we arrived I was tired and (apparently) grumpy. A late lunch restored my characteristic good nature and before we went up to our room I used one of the hotel computers to check in online for our flight the next morning. For some reason and despite my efforts to change the language setting, the British Airways website would only work in French which required a moment for me to adjust my internal settings, and which caused a degree of confusion the next day. Job done however.
Saturday morning and no rush which was a nice change as the flight time was 11h40 so a good breakfast was enjoyed. Our last trials with Indian security and we walked gently to the gate with time in hand. We were well looked after during our nine and a half hours flight and all went smoothly at Heathrow, Terminal 5 is a great improvement on the others. Car picked up and two hours drive back to Bath where our first priority was to collect Maude (our Borders Terrier dog) on the way; she was beyond joyful to be reunited with us, despite having been spoilt rotten while we’ve been away, and was talking to us in the car for the final two minutes getting home.
We’ve had a wonderful holiday, it did all the things we wanted. Our hotels were excellent and all our transport worked. We were able to do things at our own pace without being rushed round to “see everything” and organised guides where and when we needed them. And I got Mrs Sixwheeler into a Tuk-Tuk!
And it’s always so nice to get home.
14 March 2017