So we took our first Indian night train from Agra to Khajuraho. Agra train station is pretty much a camping site for those who wait for trains to come, some look like they've been waiting for their train for several years.
There are 3 main types of compartments - a seating one - that's the one they usually show on Outsourced where people literally fight for a room for elbows. In 80' (maybe now too) they even used to have big guys in the train stations who would shovel you inside the train for $2; then there is air-conditioned sleeper - most touristy tourists choose to go with it, however the air cons tend to get so cold you are freezing inside with +28 outside; then there is fan sleeper - that's what we had - 3 huge fans in the ceiling, open windows, 3 levels of berths, 8-10 people sleep in one "cabin" (normally in Europe it's 4-6)
Train toilets are famous even among locals for their poor sanitary and esthetic condition. You don't get to choose though when you have a Delhi Belly :) It's the same as on the airplane - you have to locate your nearest emergency exits, and with Delhi Belly wherever you go you have to locate the nearest toilet before you sit down.
A funny feature of the trains in India is that they leave on time regardless of who has boarded and who hasn't yet, they leave quite slowly and with open doors, so when we got in the wrong compartment and had to switch - we got to run with our bags and jump into the moving train. We were lucky that for the locals this scene with desperate looking foreigners running behind the train seemed somehow entertaining, so they were more than happy to fetch our bags and pull us into the train.
The ride to Khajuraho takes about 7-8 hours. The scenery is pretty cool - farms, plantations, rocky hills, small villages.
One thing that made this journeyamazing is a really unbelievable coincidense. We were supposed to meet our buddy, Abdul, in Khajuraho in the hostel. He was supposed to travel on a direct train from Delhi to Khajuraho to meet us. And we met him on our train from Agra - in the same compartment, in the same cabin, and on one of the berths that were ours! That was truly something!
Khajuraho is a small sleepy village - 3 roads, one main street, and 3 complexes of Kamasutra temples - sexy all around! :)
Locals mostly leave on farms or little huts along the roads, same as everywhere else there are a lot of cows, goats and dogs on the streets, and apparently the cycle of life gets into the living areas too - we actually saw a dog eating a dead cow on the side of a road, can't say it's a nice scene.
Our hostel was really nice and lush green. The staff were really nice, they actually did their best to make our stay as awesome as possible. The day started with beers, fresh melon, khakhra, Royal Stag and paan. Couple of words about paan, the chewing tobaco - many Indians chew it and are pretty serious about chewing it all the time. The juice of the mixture makes your teeth red and the nuts inside the leaf can really break your teeth if you don't do it carefully. The taste is somewhat sweet + pungent, not the best taste I had in my life. When you chew it, you get a lot of saliva in your mouth which you are supposed to spit out - many streets in the cities where we've been are colored in red splashes - thats the spit from paan. Spitting paan on the street is absolutely fine. I guess they were thinking about Indians when they prohibitted spitting in Singapore :)
So yeah, we saw the Kamasutra temples, and yeah - that's obviously the oldest 3D porn in the world :) The temples are surrounded by rural areas, and locals don't seem to mind having a sex mecca right next to their houses. The riksha drivers do make some naughty remarks though and they giggle when they tell you stories about the temples, but it's just a topic of conversation. They actually assumed that me and Oleg we came to Khajuraho with a romantic purpose, and poor Abdul, he was offered to buy a jerking off monkey statuette because he was single on this trip :)
We spent in Khajuraho 2 days and it was great - change of scenery and village life rhythm made it a really relaxing destination, not to mention spending all this time with Abdul made it great by default.
Next story - the Holy Varanasi, stay tuned!