Unless otherwise specified, all reports are from Brother Chuck
Planes, Trains & Automobiles . . . And More Trains
Will Tiller and I left Fort Walton Beach, FL, around 2 p.m. on Saturday and arrived in Chennai, India, very early Monday morning. Vijay, our friend and guide here in India, picked us up and took us to a small hotel, where we cleaned up a bit. We turned right back around and went back to the airport to pick up Karl, Josh, and Charlie, who were coming in from St. Louis, MO. They had left around 5 p.m. Saturday and their flight arrived around 4 a.m. Monday morning. The hotel we stayed in was just for the one night so it was very inexpensive ($14.00 a night). You can imagine, or maybe you can’t, what it was like. Thank the Lord for all the time we had spent in Haiti, where we used outdoor toilets and took showers under 55 gallon drums. Compared to Haiti, the hotel really wasn’t that bad! We tried to sleep but it was very difficult because our body clock was nine and half hours behind India time.
After taking a little nap we had an Indian lunch and then left the hotel to catch a “sleeping train,” as they call it (a train that you sleep on, what else!). The train wasn’t scheduled to leave until 10 p.m. so Vijay took us to a Catholic Church where St. Thomas was killed (we’ll be sending some pictures of this soon). If nothing else, it was interesting that it was a Catholic Church. Next we visited a very large Catholic Church where St Thomas’ funeral was conducted. Unfortunately, we were not able to go inside because mass was being held. Then Vijay took us to a shopping mall for a bit before we headed off to the train station.
In India, most people travel by train and there were thousands of people at this very busy station. If you were to use American standards, the station would be shutdown. There were literally hundreds of rats down at the tracks and the mosquitoes are pretty thick, as well. And on the sleeping train there were a few cockroaches, and the smell of the toilet at the end of the car left much to be desired. But beside these things, it was up to American standards. This just shows how really blessed we are to live in the United States.
Then we found out how a sleeping train works. In the compartment there is a table that sits six people. When it is time to sleep you lift a panel up and there are three bunks on each wall; (check out the pictures) then you kind of slide into your cubical. It really wasn’t that bad because we were all so tired. We slept on and off from about 10:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Some parts of the track were pretty rough.
Photos of the team’s journey