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India (Part III): But my guts were tender and my judgment poor and ended up with me only embarrassing myself.

After a few nights of celebrating with Flo's classmates – beers under the table in Bhagsu’s hippest café “Cookies” – our time had come. Leaving Dharamshala should have been harder given how generous it was to us both, but amongst it’s gifts was a new confidence and an ‘onwards and upwards’ philosophy. Although in this case it was more southwards and eastwards - across the baking plains of northern India, from the scruffy backwater town of Pathankot (Punjab), through Haryana and into the otherworld of Uttar Pradesh – the most populous state in India and therefore the most populous country sub-division (i.e. state) in the world. We had booked first class tickets for this 20 hour hop and I had been enjoying visions of table service on the Orient Express. The luxury carriage would also be the most sensible place to be with my explosive belly complaints (it happens to us all in India). But it turns out that Indian first class is little different. I really need to get my expectations in…

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