lauantai 28. huhtikuuta 2012

In the bus part 2, 3 and 4 (in a nutshell)

Travelling in a bus in India is usually an interesting but not always so pleasant experience. I guess I had a too rosy picture of bus trips till I had to take bus to Ahmedabad and the next day from Ahmedabad to Delhi. I do not know why didn't I just go to Delhi by train.

I was late. I had planned to leave in the morning to avoid the heath of the afternoon but by the time I reached the bus stop, it was almost noon and the temperature was rising. In the afternoon it goes up to 40 C or so.  I had to take the government bus from Dungarpur to Ahmedabad so I enquired about the next bus from the counter. "12.30", was the answer. So I waited for one hour, went (or fought my way through) to the counter to by a ticket (usually they sell tickets only after the bus has arrived to the platform). "The bus is full". "When is the next bus?" "At two".   So I did not want to wait for one and half hour and started asking around about private buses. I found the buses and eventually I also found a one with an empty seat after walking around shouting: "Khali seat hai?" I got a lady's seat meaning that there was another lady sitting next to me. This time it was a young mother with two small children.

Break. Men smoking bidis in the shadow.
By this time the temperature had probably reached the 40 degrees and the children were feeling it too. Immediately after the bus started from Dungarpur one of the children started crying. In fact, either one of the children would be crying all the way to Ahmedabad. I also took part in the operation of soothing them although I was also worried that my strange appearance was what initiated their crying. Nevertheless, my appearance also had a calming effect as the children would go very silent when looking at me. I also helped in filling up their bottles with water and milk, not an easy task in a moving south Rajasthani bus. The bus stopped in every village on the way and once at a roadside hotel giving the passengers an opportunity to have some chai and snacks. In the fierce afternoon heath, the men where smoking their bidis in the shadow of the bus. After five hours of travelling, the bus reached Ahmedabad and dropped me somewhere. From there I had to take an auto by which it took one hour to reach my 'Ahmedabad home'. So in the evening I thought, lesson learned, do not take bus in the afternoon.

Next day around five o'clock I was in front of a travel agancy waiting for my bus to Delhi. It did not come. After tenth time of asking what is happening I was informed that the bus was cancelled. I waited for the next bus but it got cancelled too so I waited for the third bus. The third bus was late but it did turn up. In the bus I fell asleep immediately and after a bumpy overnight ride I woke up in... Jaipur. All the other passengers had left the bus so I got out too and enquired (I felt frustrated) about possibilities to get to Delhi which was the destination written on my ticket. Luckily there was a bus leaving after one and half hours. The guy from the travel agency offered me some chai and I felt better though I already knew that I was not going to make it to the first day of the conference where I was going to attend. 3 PM was the approximate time of arrival in Delhi and that meant spending the afternoon in bus again.

Feeling sleepy, I covered my face with my dupatta, wore my sunglasses and closed my eyes and turned to face the window. This didn't stop the man sitting next tome from trying to constantly talk with me and ask my phone number during the next eight or something hours that this "five and something hours" drive trough the deserts took. In the afternoon sitting in the bus was equivalent to sitting in front of a sandblaster and I also realized that I had not eaten anything since previous day's lunch. I guess that was also putting my mood off. The gentleman sitting next to me did ask one relevant question though: "Why did you take this bus, this one stops everywhere, there are so many good buses..." After the afternoon I finally arrived in Delhi. All my suffering and bad mood was gone when I got in to my friend's lovely and homely apartment, got some food, a bath and clean clothes. Lesson learned, do not take bus to Delhi.

I did take a bus from Delhi to Udaipur though. And it was nice. So I only recommend not taking a bus from Ahmedabad to Delhi. Train is better.

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