Adventures of Kiwi in India – Part 4 – Travelling by Bus – Part 2

Travelling by Bus in India and Nepal – Part 2 – 2004-2005

In case you’ve missed any of the growing number of posts on this blog, you can check out the Contents post to find them in some sort of order or chronology and/or organisation by topic or location.

For previous parts of the Adventures of Kiwi in India series, check them out here and here.

Some bus journeys haven’t been so uncomfortable, but ended abruptly, while others seemed too go on forever!

One overnight sleeper coach ride into Delhi was going very well, I had found a way to curl myself up in the seat so I was more or less comfortable and able to sleep, until suddenly I was on the floor squeezed in between seats and my companion had a bleeding mouth from hitting the seat in front of her…

We sat for a while wondering what happened. Some of the other passengers went to the front of the bus to find out what happened…

Eventually, we also went to the front to see what was up…

Our coach had essentially rear-ended the bus in front, and both were pretty badly damaged, so it seemed like there was a big speed difference between them…

The front of our bus was smashed in on one corner and the windshield was completely gone…

A Little bus crash outside Delhi

A Little bus crash outside Delhi

My travel Companion pointed out after some time that there was no sign of our driver… We speculated on whether he had been taken to hospital or dragged into a field by the occupants of the other bus…

We never found out…

After some time it became clear that we were on our own, so we grabbed our backpacks and started the journey into the city by foot, quickly being picked up by a rickshaw and taken to our guesthouse.

Most of these bus journeys were overnight, and it was expected that while they weren’t running to schedule like a Swiss train, that they would turn up more or less on time.

I had spent some time in Nepal renewing my visa and doing a Vipassana meditation retreat, while the country was going through a democratic revolution.

While I was in Kathmandu the population of Nepal were protesting against their King, and he actually stepped down not long afterwards, but there were protests and curfews on a daily basis.

So when I decided to get out by bus, to Darjeeling in India, I knew that it was going to be a long journey. As I border the bus in the morning I asked what time the bus would arrive and they said matter of factly 12 o’clock. Ok, I thought, another overnighter. Fine.

Madmax Bus in India or Nepal - Probably Rajasthan

Madmax Bus in India or Nepal – Probably Rajasthan

We left the city and travelled East to Darjeeling. As is usual in India and Nepal the bus stops at road-side restaurants and markets so that people could eat and have a bathroom break. This happened a few times, but after some hours, as it got dark, the bus stopped in the middle of nowhere and didn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon… I asked what time the bus would arrive and they said ’12 o’clock’.

Ok, I thought, so this is a planned stop, no problem, at 12 o’clock tomorrow I’ll be there and can find a nice, comfortable place to sleep.

I got as comfortable as I could and managed to sleep through most of the night. In the morning the bus started off again, stopping for food at various roadside places and then continuing again. 12 o’clock came and went. Hmmm…

I made some friends on the bus. One guy who didn’t speak English at all, but really liked me, had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen… So big that I felt like he was smiling inside my eyes!

This bus was maybe not in Nepal but perhaps south India

This bus was maybe not in Nepal but perhaps south India

Still, the bus travelled on. And yet again, as it got dark the bus pulled over at the side of the road and didn’t appear to be moving again. I asked again what time the bus would arrive… And again they insisted that the bus would arrive at 12 o’clock… Maybe I was missing something here…

It occurred to me that I hadn’t asked which day it would arrive…

This time we had stopped at a lower altitude and it was much warmer, so we lay on the grass beside the road and slept until the morning.

I decided not to ask when the bus would arrive again. I was in this for the duration. The bus would arrive when the bus arrived. Strap in for the ride and take it easy.

Finally, after three days and two nights in an uncomfortable bus, we finally arrived in Darjeeling. My back was aching and my head was spinning. Darjeeling is at an altitude of 2000 meters. I felt drunk for several days, with everything spinning unless I was focused on one specific thing. I was experiencing a different strange effect of altitude this time!

It took me a few days until I felt ok again. But I found a nice room and a nearby restaurant with lots of tea and food that was easy to eat. I had a good book and I read it until the spinning subsided… Then it was time to explore Darjeeling!

 

Part 5 of Kiwi’s Adventures in India – How to become a Bollywood Star – is coming soon!

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