Day 12. I was sat in an empty railway carriage on a wooden slatted seat that had seen far better days. I was quite glad of the peace, however, it was at this moment just as the train slowly pulled away that I met the madman from Manmad. Sitting down and facing me was a shabbily dressed man with no shoes, a dirty ripped shirt and shorts all accompanied with the slight aroma of poo which I suppose does come from wiping your bum with your hand! He spoke remarkably good English which was surprising as many people do not wander much further than their home town so never need to learn it. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that he’d learnt his English from Monty Python videos. The conversation started off quite normally, “Where are you from?” etc. but it soon degenerated to “What do you think of Indian women, wwhoaaaarr”, he said with an almost toothless smile. The only teeth that were left were stained red from chewing Beetle nut. He went on to talk about western women saying, “They are easy, I’ve had more than fifty of them.” I asked him what he had them do as it was clearly not cleaning his clothes never mind anything more intimate! He then proceeded to randomly say “phwarrr” for the next hour while making bizarre but very suggestive hand gestures. Luckily for the remaining four hours of the journey he fell asleep although as I was about to find out, this wasn’t so lucky. As he slept his legs parted slightly to reveal an ill sited, but remarkably conveniently placed hole in his shorts which allowed his ‘old fella’ to slip out! From this I guessed he wasn’t Hindu!
After passing some amazingly barren landscapes with arid dry hills, one quite remarkable in having what looked like a huge thumb shaped monolith sticking out of the top of it, we finally pulled into a very busy and dirty Manmad station. The platforms were piled high with large sacks, some were being carried by porters half their size who were barely strong enough to carry them. I went straight to the ticket office and bought a ticket to Madgaon in Goa for tomorrow. I was given a ticket but didn’t understand what the man behind the counter was trying to tell me, all I knew was the train was at 6am and I had to be there. Although this town is completely outside of the realms of my guidebook I managed to find a hotel directly opposite the station which is possibly a bit of a mistake. It has the usual broken bed, bed linen with ground in dirt and toilet that is simply a hole in the floor with psychedelic plastic bucket. I headed into town for a little walk and discovered by the large number of people staring and actually following me that Manmad is definitely not on the tourist trail. It is however more like an Indian town I expected to see with a small compact town centre consisting of wooden houses with overhanging terraces, it was a very appealing place, but the food was not. I ate at the hotel restaurant and had a paneer masala which was probably the worst Indian food I’ve ever tasted but I had to eat it as I was starving. It was a strange place particularly with four ladies sat in the corner drinking tea, not out of their cups but pouring it into their saucers and simultaneously sipping from them. It was like a bad sketch out of Last of the Summer Wine.