Mangalore is a small city on the west coast of India. Logan and Lila have been there a few times but not since they were tiny, so it felt new to them, and Scarlett has never traveled before. This was her first trip anywhere and she was very excited.
The afternoon of December 26, 2012, we boarded a train, on our way to “nana’s house”. At first they loved it, but after a short time, Lila wanted to get off and go home. She hasn’t traveled away from home since she was a baby so being in unfamiliar surroundings made her uncomfortable. After a movie and dinner, they slept by 9 p.m.
During the night we traveled down through Tamil Nadu, passed through Kerala and then up to Karnataka, which is where Mangalore is situated. Chennai is on the east coast of India and Mangalore the west, so it was a coast to coast trip, though since this is the bottom of the country, the two coasts are not that far from each other.
The next morning we arrived around 9 a.m. A short ride from the station took us to the house where Glad spent part of his childhood and his teen years. Everything was interesting for the kids but nana quickly learned to take the keys out of the cupboard doors and to keep them locked as the kids tried to get into everything! Lila misplaced some of the keys and Logan wanted to find all the toys nana had stored, prompting her to hide some of them since Logan is neither quiet nor gentle in his play.
Most of the time there we tried to keep the kids busy. We took them to the mall a few times, the beach, a park with a small train ride that circles the park, and on our last day, Pilikula Nisargadhama, a zoo and nature park. I think the best part about this place was that the big animals didn’t have cages but large open spaces with trenches for barriers. We saw lions and tigers in their natural habitat, lots of deer, elephants, birds and more. All the animals were native to India.
When at home, it was a bit of a struggle to keep the kids out of trouble. Nana’s house is not really child friendly and they did get bored sometimes but the overall trip was fun. The children slept together in one big bed, but, same as they do at home, they would slowly come and join Glad and I in our room. Often in the morning the kids would be in bed with me and Glad would be in the kids’ bed. Ha.
Logan and Lila did at first find being in a new place for more than a day difficult. They would cry and ask to go home to their own beds and they wanted all the cuddle toys we had left behind. (I let them each bring one.) But after talking to them and lots of explaining and comforting, they got used to it and enjoyed their time.
Our third night there we went to a party with lots of Glad’s relatives and family friends. It was celebrating his deceased paternal grandmother’s 100th birthday. Yes, you read that right, a birthday party for a dead person. I guess it was a reason for them to all get together and party.
First they had prayers and a little about her, her children, etc. Then they moved into games, and by the time the drinks came out, all these people who had been sitting so stiffly at the beginning were up on the stage dancing. Ha. My kids love stages and if there is one, they want to dance on it, so they had a great time.
On the trip home, the train left earlier so we had more time in which to entertain the kids. At first the car had very few passengers so we claimed a few seats next to each other, even though the ones we had were not confirmed and were spread out across the car. The kids watched a few movies on the laptop and took a nap, but by 6 p.m. we landed in the station that took on the most passengers and the car rapidly filled up.
We had two upper berths and one lower; the upper ones were near each other but the lower was at the other end of the car. So we decided that Glad and Lila would share the one at the far end, Logan had one upper one and Scarlett and I shared the other. Logan had slept on an upper bed on the way there and made it through the night, but this time he didn’t. Logan has a habit of hanging off his bed in his sleep. I often find him half off his bed or even on the floor. Everyone put the lights out by 9 p.m. since the train would get in at 5:30 a.m. so I put Scarlett to sleep, then made Logan lie down. He played for a while then went to sleep. Between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., I woke twice and moved Logan towards the wall since his legs were sticking out.
No sooner had I moved him the second time and climbed back into my bed and found a way to be comfy (since Scarlett likes to sprawl and take up most of the space) than I heard a thump and Logan began crying. He had fallen off the bunk. The man on the opposite bunk below was picking him up by the time I got down again but Logan wouldn’t stop crying. He had hit his head pretty hard, but Logan hates pain of any kind and cries as if an injury is much worse than it is. The man who helped him traded bunks with him so Logan could be on a lower bunk, but then I had to sit with him for two hours during which time he cried and cried, used the toilet several times, then finally threw up.
After that he was able to sleep again, but it was already 4 a.m. so we didn’t have much time to sleep before having to get up again. The whole time I was down with him I kept looking up to make sure Scarlett didn’t roll over and fall off the top bunk. Needless to say, when we got home by 6:30 a.m., we all went to bed again and slept for several hours. And yes, Logan is just fine. We thought if the pain continued we would have him checked for a concussion but he said it was just sore but didn’t hurt. I think the pain was more from his freaking out and the vomiting from the two hours he spent crying.
So I don’t look forward to traveling with my kids any time soon. Especially by train. I’m doing my best to prepare them for the huge change of moving countries sometime later this year, and I hope they won’t take long to adjust to the new place, but 24 hours or more of plane travel? Spare me, please!