We grabbed a bus to Trivandrum, the Kerala state capital, first thing in the morning after the India Coffee House breakfast. As our bus without windows was cruising along, Rich turned to me and said, “Did you see that?” “See what?” was my reply. “The sun just went behind a cloud,” he responded while pointing into the sky. When you do not see clouds for weeks at a time it is major event when one actually interferes with the sun.
We arrived in Trivandrum, which did not give the impression of being a state capital at all. It had narrow streets lined with shops, all under a palm tree canopy. A real sleepy feel to the whole city. We found a hotel and immediately went to the train station to sort out a ticket to Northern India. We have been here six weeks and have not made it to the north yet. We are getting stuck again, but that was to end fairly quickly.
Our train ride up to Ahmedabad, north of Bombay was going to take us around 50 hours, so we both immediately decided a first class berth was absolutely necessary for a hell ride like that. The first class ticket cost us Rs. 1083 or $35. We wandered through the streets of Trivandrum for the remainder of the day avoiding the heat of the days as the locals do. We are getting good at this. Since there are not a lot of noteworthy sites in Trivandrum, we just vegged in a movie theater that evening viewing that cinematic masterpiece, Miami Blues.
The theaters in India are all pretty shoddy, so it can be rather difficult finding a seat comfortable enough to endure for 2 hours. We sat on a couple of seats and the second I sat down, my seat folded down farther than it should, making me end up sitting on the floor. Rich tried another seat, which seemed to be okay, but then almost cut his arm open on the exposed metal where the armrest was supposed to be. My next seat had a spring poking me in the butt and Rich’s next choice had a seat back that felt like you were sitting at a 45-degree angle forward. The two of us then split up and proceeded to give at least 25 seats each, comfort test drive, the locals all turned around and had a great time watching the two sahibs running around the theater trying out every available seat. We finally ended up seating in two separate rows, one seat from each other deciding that these were the only two unbroken seats in the theater.
After watching the garbagy American film, we were exiting the theater and just as I was telling Rich what thrash the movie was, I heard this voice with an Australian accent pipe up from the back row. “Was not that a horrible movie”? Low-and-behold, who should be sitting in the theater, but Reuben and Nikki who had made it down to Trivandrum on their way to Sri Lanka. We chatted with them and went out for coffee until midnight, seeing that they were heading to Nepal after Sri Lanka, we arranged to meet them in Katmandu on March 15th outside the general post office at 2 o’ clock if we were there by then. Who knows, we saw Simon from Egypt two months later in Zimbabwe, so you never know what could happen again.