Well here it is good old St. Valentines Day and I am somewhere in India
on the slowest train that I believe ever ran. We left the Port Saturday
night and after 42 hours of riding we have gone about 500 miles.
This country is a very beautiful farming country, mostly level or slightly
rolling with rich black soil and sufficient water.
The people are another story. There are supposed to be 400 million
of them and from what we have seen, 398 million of them are very black
and very dirty. They are small in stature and mostly very skinny.
A large number of them do not seem to have any homes, nor does it seem
to worry them. They sleep any and everywhere in any and all positions.
They speak a jargon of dialects that we cannot understand and two out of
each four seem to be beggars, while the other two are trying to sell you
things you wouldn't have.
I went shopping in the Port town we landed in to try & find something
for you both, but could not find anything I wanted for you. Will
try again at the place we are now headed for and may have better luck as
it is a larger city.
Tell Tim that this train we are riding would really open his eyes.
It runs about 1 or 2 hours then stops for 1 or 2 hours, while the attendants
pull & rebuild the fires, fill the water tank and fill the coal box,
all by hand. They hook a ladder on to the side of the Engine Tender
and carry coal up in baskets until they have the box full, then we take
At meal times we have to stop at some station, all get out and eat by the
roadside and then reload and on our way. This usually takes about
The coaches are all split up in compartments and there is no way to go
from one car or one compartment to another once the train is moving.
These compartments hold from 4 to 40 people. We are lucky there are
only six in our place and we have running water and a toilet, whereas some
of them do not.
Peg, I just looked out of the window and saw something that reminded me
of some people I know. A flock of wild Baboons running across the
field, there were I would estimate about 25 of them and all rather large.
We can also see plenty of Water Buffalo as we go by and while in the Port
we went to the zoo and saw most of the animals from this country.
We saw some Royal Bengal Tigers, that were really beautiful, also some
black Leopards, Boa Constrictors, King Cobras, Lions, Elephants and numerous
others. It is all very interesting and I wish you were here to see it with
If this writing appears jerky you will have to blame this train, it is
also rough & dirty. It is also raining, which makes it a little
disagreeable, although it is quite warm. This you know is the middle
of the winter here just as at home, but the temperature is about the same
as we have in June & July.
The fruit seems to be plentiful especially oranges & bananas.
We are buying oranges for about 40 cents per dozen & bananas for less
than 10 cents per doz. Meals are also very reasonable and in selected
places are quite good. There seems to be no rationing here whatsoever
and so you can buy all you want of most anything you can find. We
had a delicious full course steak dinner on Friday night for about 75 cents,
and it was really good.
There is no Beer here nor Whisky. The natives drink native Brandy
and the Europeans drink Gin and lime juice, which is a very nice drink,
but much too high for us, it costs about 90 cents for a Tom Collins, which
they call a John Collins, so consequently there is very little drinking
The Automobiles here are mostly American and not too plentiful, although
you can always get a Taxi or if you want to ride in native style you can
get a Garry, which is an open carriage pulled by a small horse and it will
As soon as it is posible I will send you pictures showing all the interesting
sights of this part of the world and whatever descriptive literature I
think you would enjoy.
Our mail has not caught up with us as yet and we are all wondering if you
have been getting the letters we have mailed from time to time as we have
Now write whenever you can and I will write as often as possible.
Give to Love to all