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Carol got me up at 3am as we had to be at the station at 4am – and she had to work out if I was capable of moving or not. Thankfully I was! She had organised an Uber cab which took us the short distance through dark, deserted streets to the Terminus station nearby. Despite the hour there were plenty of people in the station, many of them sleeping on the floor, and after some confusion, and completely wrong instructions from a guy behind the ticket counter, we found our platform and the train. The grandly named ‘Vistadome’ carriage turned out to be a slightly more modern carriage with bigger windows (including dirty ones in the ceiling) fitted with very impractical swivel seats.

It was a long 10 hour trip, made immeasurably less pleasant by the rudest, most inconsiderate bunch of people I’ve come across in some time, who preceded to treat the carriage like their personal family room for the entire trip. They constantly blocked the aisle, talked at the tops of their voices, and acted like no one else in the carriage existed. One guy kept standing right up against Carol every time he had to make room for someone moving down the aisle until she told him to shove off. He and his wife tried to turn the double swivel seat to face the windows when there was absolutely no room to do so and would have put them right in our faces, until we repeatedly told them to stop. A self-absorbed young woman led her three other friends in a rendition of about a hundred Bollywood song snippets – it just went on, and on, and on – and none of them could hold a tune.

Thank the gods for noise-cancelling AirPods and podcasts, or it would have been unbearable. The fact that I was feeling terrible didn’t help matters! 

Anyway, as I was beginning to feverishly imagine the horror of these people appearing in the villa next to us on the beach, we finally reached Magdaon station in Goa state and could leave them behind us forever. As we left the air-conditioned train carrying our packs, the rise in temperature and humidity hit us like a blow.

Carol had organised a driver, and he took us about an hour south to Agonda Beach and the Agonda Serenity Beach Villas. And thankfully, it’s wonderful. We are right on the beach, with our own spacious porch built a few steps above the sand, with a stunning view of the Arabian Sea in front of us. The room is big and comfortable, with a huge sunken bathroom at the back. It’s a perfect place for me to recover. Manoz, the guy working there, is very attentive, and brought us dinner.

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