Sam and I set off on a sleeper train from Howrah train to Vizag two weeks ago, leaving at night for the 14+ hour journey where we had the upper bunks—a surprisingly pleasant journey, and the first time I had taken a long distance train in India since I had been studying abroad in Hyderabad in 2010.
Our ride to the train the station was the usual madness figuring the number of red lights we ran, cars we nearly hit and the one way street we went the wrong way on.
We arrived into Vizag around 2pm in high spirits, taking an auto to Abhishek’s parents, who live on the coast in a beautiful 6th floor ocean-view apartment. We were well fed, and spent the first day going to a beach north of the city as well as to hill park overlooking the city via chairlift. Sam had a cold and I was beginning to feel it too.
Next day we went to Borra Caves by a train but found them to be closed, a bunch of people milling around outside the gate. Different people told us they were closed until 12, 1, or 2. So we decided to hedge our bets and walk to a waterfall 7 kilometers away, rather than paying the outrages fees for a shared car. Plus, we had plenty of time to kill.
I noticed I got significantly more intrusive questions about which country I was from here than in Calcutta.
We arrived to the amazement of the many other tourists who were shocked that we walked. The waterfall, which was cool, contained plenty of garbage at the bottom.
We took a shared jeep back in time for a quick lunch at the dhaba outside the caves and saw the caves, which I was told were either discovered by a British guy in 1807, or by someone who’s cow fell into a hole at the top. The side entrance to the cave was excavated later on for tourists.
We went to train station to buy tickets back, but the train was going to be three hours late. After a wait, we took a shared jeep to a bus station about a 45 minute drive away but our jeep broke down. And it wouldn’t start. At all, even after attempts to push start. The driver sent his buddy in an auto to get fuel which they poured into the tank but just poured out the bottom of the engine. After an hour wait in which two buses to vizag passed by—our fellow passengers asking why we didn’t get in the second bus and us telling them that we asked the conductor, “Vizag?” and he looked at us, gave us a confused hand gesture and then just drove away.
Anyways, we got back to Vizag no issue and made it on our train to Bhubenswar, arriving the next day.