The mother of all Journeys!! HELL
Trip Start Apr 29, 2009
19Trip End Ongoing
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We got up at 3.45am and left Pokhara at 5am on the local bus..there are no tourist buses on this route, as it is not used by many tourists .... I know I had a little rage last time I was on here...lol..but have recovered somewhat now!!!.I think we were both just so very exhausted, maybe we are getting too old for all this!!
In all honesty, it was just awful, I do believe they covered the hardwood seats in plastic but forgot to put in any padding...and I started to think it might be time to consider buttock implants with all these bus and train journeys to contend with, neither of us have much padding in the nether regions!!! we have become completely boneshaken. The bus was totally falling apart inside (nothing unusual about that!!) and rattled and shook violently at every move....we were scrunched up like sardines ..yes again
After a couple of hours of traveling the bus suddenly stopped and everybody started to pile out and run in different directions, this was obviously a 'loo' stop.... I followed the women who went in the opposite direction to the men, but I think my biggest problem started then.... how to be discreet about this!!?? even after tramping over the long grass and bracken and into the trees, praying there were no snakes underfoot,we were still within view of the bus and i had more to worry about than most as of course nobody was interested in looking at the local people but every pair of eyes was on me ...... it was daunting, but it was a case of needs must and i watched to see what the others were doing, this wasn't a great deal of help as mostly the women were just stood upright in their sari's whilst peeing, I really found this horrible, as i fail to see how they can avoid getting wet??? they just stood legs astride smiling, and i gathered at that point that in preparation they hadn't got any undies on !!!! I then just took the bull by the horns, wrapped my cardigan around my waist and squatted down .... I was so anxious to get it over with as i feared every minute something was going to rear up and bite my behind!!
A couple of times we stopped at busy towns for a break and everybody jumped off to buy food and drinks, but this also presented us with a problem, as we never knew how long we were stopping for, nobody said a word and when we asked nobody understood us and we were therefore scared to go far or order any food in case we got left behind......... this resulted in us having only one cup of chai on the entire journey and no food at all!!!
We also stopped regularly to pick up further passengers, even though there was no room at all and they all ended up standing and leaning on us, squashing us more, it was so packed and hot and at one point we had a lady get on who kept falling across Mike, after losing patience and asking nicely, he started to yell at her, as it was obvious she was drunk and this was confirmed by another passenger, and not only did she smell but she had her handbag virtually wrapped round his neck whilst she was trying to chat him up in HIndi, and pinching his cheeks etc !! he was shouting. 'get off me...get off!!' lol at the next stop as I climbed down from the bus I was intrigued to see them open a small luggage compartment on the outside and bring out a little piglet, my intrigue turned to horror as i realised that they had two little pigs in there, tiny baby's and they were obviously in a bad way having been couped up for at least an hour, one died at once and the other was in a terrible state, they got some water and all sat round it in deep discussion, hoping to try and revive it, but after a while it became apparent that it was too late, they must have literally baked to death in that small compartment with no air or water and the heat of the boiling midday sun......criminal...
At times we were really in fear for our life as the bus was climbing these huge mountainous hills with hairpin bends, not dissimilar surroundings to Cheddar Gorge only much much higher and oncoming buses and lorries hurtling towards us, we would then reach the top and freefall down the other side, almost as if we were on a roller coaster or big dipper ....a real white knuckle ride i can tell you ... to make matters worse the road was made of mostly rubble at times (see pic of road!!!) with landslides in places too and on top of all this the bus driver was rather taken with one of the young female passengers and was having a conversation with her ...... which would have been fine, except he wasnt looking at the road half the time, but at her...... generally on the brow of a hill or a bend .........this was really really frightening and i thought Mike, who rarely gets stressed or afraid was going to go and take over the wheel at one point, as even he was on the edge of his seat and like me sighing in relief everytime we escaped a near miss, or suggesting i close my eyes ......
but hey, worse to come, on one stretch of road, as we screeched round a hairpin bend whilst coming downhill, four of the seats opposite us and the people on them came away from the floor of the bus and started to tip over towards us ....... the seat occupants were screaming and terrified trying to hang on, but there was little to hang on to, apart from the overhead luggage rack and Mike was trying to help them whilst still trying not to fall over himself ... on closer examination it appeared that all the fixings that attached the seats to the floor were broken or missing!!!
Whilst all the above was going on Hindi music was absolutely blaring out of the bus speakers deafening us!!!!
After approx 15 hours we finally arrived near Nepal Ganj and all had to change buses, not that we were that sorry!!
We then had to pile into a pedal rickshaw for a further 15/20 minute drive to get another bus to Gaulerie ....... so there was myself, Mike, two huge rucksacks and 2 smaller backpacks all piled into the back of the cycle rickshaw being pedaled along a rough stone road with potholes everywhere ........ all for 10 rupees!!! and just to add to the excitement I was being stared at blatantly by just about everyone .....
the next leg was arguably even worse, when we took our seats in a shared jeep, as I explained in my last entry, these are used rather like buses.... and yes, its a Guinness book of records event i think to see who can get the most people in.... I think i mentioned previously that there was 17 inside ours and they were still stopping trying to get more in and we had 8 on the roof and four hanging on the outside including the fare collector who poked his head (and half his body in the window to collect your money!) at a later date when we had to take another one of these jeeps we had 24 inside ........ so broke our own record!!!!!
We were so very happy to hear Suresh's voice calling our names at our final destination.......where he came to meet us with his brother in law , a policeman ....
well i think i had better post this blog as I have been here ages,,, the 'N' key o this computer does not work and its dead annoying!!!!