Saturday, 2 March 2013

Friday 1st March - Gurgaon

We wake to a beautiful sunny morning with a little bit of a nip in the air and dew on the lawn. Like it used to be in the UK sometimes. Breakfast is leisurely and then D takes an auto to the National Rail Museum. This has not changed greatly in two years although the steam monorail has been restored and according to staff runs every Sunday. It looks as if a concerted effort to restore the Darjeeling B Class and the Matheran coaches is under way but there is still a general air of decay about the place. It is to be hoped that the rust is removed from 777 before they attempt to repaint. The indoor hall is
being redecorated so there is only limited access and a prohibition on photography. If that was in effect 2 years ago none of us noticed it.

Back at the ranch R is sitting in the garden watching the birds but no hornbills this morning. As it is Friday afternoon we have scheduled our usual visit to the pub although this time it will be a little earlier and involve a 40 minute metro ride each way. At IFFCO Chowk in Gurgaon we are met by our IM pal and we go to try out one of the trendy micro-brewery bars in this rapidly growing satellite city. The beer is very good, as is the food, and once we have persuaded them to reduce the decibel level a convivial afternoon ensues. The only let down is Gurgaon, which we were assured, was full of gun-toting gangsters. We don't even see a traffic violation.

There are empty seats for our ride back to our stop, marked as reserved for the elderly and differently abled. There is nobody older than us in sight so we take them. In fact there is hardly anybody over the age of 30 on the train.

The sun is just starting to set as we get back to Lutyens Bungalow and the garden is full of parakeets when we see, on a distant tree, the pair of hornbills with a juvenile. Two of them stay still long enough for a photo. Wonderful! We dine in as the odd ones out on a table of Aussies but they are good company.

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