Airline tickets carry their own black dread, but there is something about railway tickets that carries a wonderful sense of adventure. Our IndiaRail tickets arrived, and they almost laughingly fit my stereotypes of India. The slightly-crumpled green paper cover leads me to think of fine china and murder aboard the Orient Express. The crudely-stamped and badly-printed front page makes me feel like I'm about to embark on the Darjeeling Limited. We have a three-week IndiaRail pass, AC-2 Class. That means we're not traveling first class (which is twice the cost), but still in a fairly comfortable manner. (That is to say, the seats are padded.) During those three weeks we'll take only one overnight journey, on the long return from the Thar Desert stronghold of Jaisalmer back to Delhi. We depart to India on 15 December, in about a week and a half. Am I ready? I have malaria meds, emergency antibiotics, sandals that can pass for dress shoes in a pinch, and perhaps the most twee guide book ever. I've managed to (so far) fit everything into a carry-on and a backpack, including my camera (Canon EOS 5D Mark II), 3 lenses, my computers (MacBook Air & iPad), & clothing. I figure I'll buy a hat and scarf there, as well as anything else I might have forgotten. I'll be posting as often as I can, with photos and stories. If you're getting this message in your email, you're already on my list. If you're reading it on the web, you can sign up for the mailing list from my web site at (you can also read stories from past journeys.)

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