Saturday, 18 February 2017

Lucknow

We are leaving Lucknow one day later than anticipated. We pack up our room and make the short walk to the bus station. The early morning crazy somehow a little less crazy than the east of the day and night. Utter confusion at the bust station as all information is in Hindi, eventually we get directed to the right place to buy a ticket for the right bus and we are soon in our seats waiting for the departure. The bus seems to creep out of Lucknow inch by inch, albeit as very loud jolty creep. Slowly weaving through the traffic and cows and dogs. At one stage there is total grid lock at a small traffic circle as one bus has broken down and two other busses, including ours seem to wedge themselves in a kind of stale mate, still pushing forward even through there is no where to go. Much confusion and gesticulating and shunting and the broken bus manages to move backwards out of the way and we are one the move again inching the rest of the way out of the city. The rest of the journey is heavily punctuated with sharp sudden breaking and constant honking on the horn, five hours later we pull into Allahabad bus station. We dodge through the crowd of waiting drivers with relative ease and find a spot for lunch. It is a strange little cafe which seems to want to be a diner, the kitchen is out on the street and there are deflated heart shape valentines balloons. We order a strange combination of onion pakora and paneer chow mien which turns out to have no paneer on it. Micheal goes out to the counter to order a sprite but what arrives is a kind of potato puff pastry.

The usual hot tiring stress of trying to find a hotel, the first one is full, the second one is full and they inform us that there are no rooms left in the whole of the city. A little more searching and then under the railway tracks to the old town and we find an ok place where Michael manages to negotiate  a discount for a pre payment.

A quick turnaround and we venture out to walk around the chawk, the area is much like any other Indian city street only there are many more stalls and shops packed together. Passed a tiny brand new baby calf, it seems to have been tide to a pillar on a short length of rope, poor thing, but at least that will stop it from wandering into the path of a tuktuk as it will not have got its India street smarts yet.

The usual array of goods on display. And the usual chaos and tangle of bikes and tuktuk and cows and dogs. We end up buying a stacking tiffin. It will be useful to carry food on these long train journeys.  

Back to the newer side of town and Michael feeds the coffee biscuits we bought in error to a tiny puppy with a broken, yet wagging white tipped tail. Some fries and a Fanta from McDonald's and we instantly have regret wanting Indian food instead. Back, through the dark  to the hotel for the night.