As usual the Lonely Planet maps wasn’t quite scaled right. We should have learnt this by now, but upon leaving the Bhopal train station we still hadn’t. So after been quoted ridiculously high tuk-tuk prices, we walked to the Sambhavna Clinic. Our first lesson turned out to be that virtually no on knows where the Clinic is! Even when you are at the turning to it. Mental note number one: local media outreach could be better.

In a totally random coincidence, as we walked the final stretch we heard a voice shout in  lovely Scottish accent, “you wouldn’t happen to be Josh and Lucie would you?” It was the woman who had given us our cholera vaccine in the UK – she (we now found out/remembered her name is Lorraine)  had mentioned at the time that we might meet her in Bhopal, but it had seemed very unlikely.

When we arrived, we were confronted by an Italian anarchist, Adriano, asking us if we wanted “anything special from the alcohol shop”. We told him beer would do, but he refused, telling us “that is not special enough”.

We got settled in, had a few beers, which having failed to buy anything special Adriano had brought back, and headed out to our New Years party at Sathyu’s house, who is the managing trustee of the Sambhavna Clinic. Having not really met anyone yet, this was a interesting opportunity to do so – everyone was letting their hair down. Indian dancing, if the performances there are anything to go by, is exuberant and, in the case of the men, surprisingly effeminate.

The majority of our night consisted of talking about politics and in my case particularly about the potential limitations of Anarchism, with the classic reply of “But where has Marxism ever worked?”

Given that since arriving in Nepal, we had only drunk a total of 3 beers, buying a bottle of whiskey was always going to lead to sillyness. Again in my case, this culminated in me peeing (in a toilet) as the clock hit midnight. By my watch it had been midnight about 30 seconds ago, and so this seemed like a good break from ideology discussions.

The journey home, chaperoned by the professor of dark matter at Oxford University, was a bit of a ridiculous affair. We eventually found a tuk-tuk into which the Italian anarchist was bundled to take his 3am train. As for us, the men who had been following us on their motorbike turned out to be people from the party and happily found us transport home.

This was our slap-dash and not very representative introduction to life in Bhopal…

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