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Raja on Trains, & anyone for Shivling?

Date: 1/09/09
Submitted by: Alan Tees
Kolkata to Delhi.The train journey was a nice surprise. Actually. Rajdhani Experess, haven't been on it for long time. And now I must admit that the experience is better. It has improved, the whole experience. Remarkable food especially, when this is included in your train ticket price; matters. But what matters most is panctuality of the train. And this time it was a ten on ten.
Whenever I am taking a train ride, all these comparisons come into my mind. The European trains ( especially the Swiss, French and German) are great. They are meticulously perfect on time, they are clean and look modern. The one long distance Russian train I was on was a train from Moscow to MIn Vody. It was great and different experiemce altogether. It lacked the look may be, but there was no shortage of quality of service on board. I was particularly impressed by the one lady conductor who was literraly taking care of everything in one coach. From checking our tickets to cleaning the floor. The look may be was mechanical and the built was a typical Soviet type; but I must admit there was certain warmth about it. This warmth is completely missing in European trains. The Eurpoean trains may be faster, and has more on time performances; it still lacks the human touch. The Swiss Jungfrau railway is admirable for the engineering achievements and service etc, but what it lacks is human touch. Technology and quality of service come first. Human touch later. Money first, convenience later.
Indian trains on the other hand are human first and then everything else come into the picture. The on time performances are improving. Surely we do not hear about abnormal delays any more and the cleanliness and hygiene has improved on board ( still no where near comparable to Western Standards though). Its diffrent, indeed!
Delhi as always was hectic. Running around and talking business is all I did in day. Not just meeting my clients for the upcoming trek; I had to take advantage of being in Delhi and meeting the IMF and updating the October Expedition scenario.
I have always preferred the overnight bus ride from Delhi to Manali, over flying to Kullu and the taking a taxi to manali. Not only it saves cash, but also it saves time. Instead of sleeping one night in Delhi, we are now in Manali. All the Adventure Mania boys are here too. Its a nice temperature and we are not missing the Delhi or Kolkata climate a bit.
Tomorrow we are off to kaza. A long day ( 11 hours approx) over Rohtang Pass and Kunzum pass( 4550m) and into spiti. Crossing the Great Himalayan range and into lahoul and the to the middle country of Spiti. After 2 nights in kaza we wil set out for Kibber (the highest village, connected by road 4200m) and then onwards and upwards to Parangla and Tso moriri). Adventures ahead.
This is how things are happening and I am not complaining.
Hoping to get some interest from climbers for satopanth (7075m) and Shivling (6593m) for 2010. Hope and thats the best policy sometimes. There is internet connection in Kaza. If it works , will probably do one more post before the trek.

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