Back to India

When I entered in Nepal, it was the last day of validity of my Indian visa. So I did a transit visa in Kathmandu to catch my plane from Kolkata to Bangkok: this visa is only valid for 3 days!

I initially thought about a nice ride from Sikkim to Kolkata via Darjeeling, but the bus drive trough Nepal is very long, and the trains to Kolkata were already overbooked.

I chose the easier and more direct border. Between the bus arrival in Birganj, Nepal at 5am and the train departure in Raxaul, India in evening, I had many hours to go around. Not very easy with my huge luggage though, so I did something illegal with my single entry visas: I crossed the border 3 times in the same day! I walked until the border, went through the immigration offices for the stamp and continued until the railways station in Raxaul to let my bag in the cloak room. Then, I went all the way back to Nepal to enjoy the morning in the quite busy but still peaceful town in the Nepali side, before getting the loud rush in Raxaul by noon!

Walking through the market streets, I could feel immediately the difference: in India, every truck, car, tuk tuk or even bicycle blow their horn, I got quickly tired with that and rest some hours in the train station instead! Later in the evening, I wanted to check for Internet but ended up optimizing the connection of the Internet café, which is using desktop virtualization and thin clients only (19” LCD monitor with Ethernet input from LG): quite interesting!

The train I took from Raxaul to Kolkata is not running every day. This gave it probably a lower priority in their train organization because it stopped many times to let other train pass and got more than 4 hours delay, the 16h journey becoming 20h! Anyway, I had interesting discussions with Paul, 25, traveling with his brother. Paul is born in Nepal but the family live in Asansol, India. Their family received help from a Pasteur to cure a cousin many years ago, and they became Christian (thus the name Paul). Quite uncommon in Nepal and India!

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