Give me a f**cking ticket!!!

Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
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Flag of India  ,
Thursday, December 22, 2005

I awoke early the next day not knowing whether or not i was going to be able to make the journey to the border. coming down for my morning cup of coffee in the thick fog the front desk people assured me that all was calm and that the bus would have no trouble getting its happy ass to the border. having heard that i finished my coffee and went back upstairs to get my bag.

it was 24 hours later and things were considerably calmer in the city. i was on the same exact bus but now it was saturday so there were no school kids to deal with and we made pretty quick progress into the heart of the city where of course we stopped once again for about 20 minutes to let people on and off. i dont mind stopping occasionally but the fact that we stop, pick up one person and then drive 50 feet (literally) and stop to pick up another was really beginning to piss me off. im not sure how hard of a concept a central bus stop is to comprehend but people really need to get their shit together. we kept up the stopping and starting for a few hours and then we stopped for chai for another half hour (all bus trips stop for chai at least twice....it can be an hour bus trip and i swear to god they will stop twice). i was impatient but i suppose we were on pace for our 5 hour mark, getting me to the border at about 1pm. the only other westerner on the bus this day was a guy from france on his way to veranasi in india. we chatted a bit but i was still pretty frazzled from the day before and was less then social looking back.

having stopped for tea we picked up where we left off....stop and start, stop and start (see a pattern?) about an hour later we stopped in the middle of the road for an organized bathroom break which wasnt a bad idea i guess but when everyone got on board we drove around a corner and was in a town that we had to stop in to change buses. why couldnt we have driven the 100 meters and stopped in the town to begin with instead of wasting another 10 minutes?

so now me and the french guy are packed on this bus that is even in worse condition then the first. ive seen these buses cruising through the countryside before, packed to the gills with locals and ive thanked my lucky stars i wasnt stuck on THAT thing..well now i was and i was less then happy but what choice did i have? at this point in my journey i was really shit out of luck when it came to getting into india and i had to deal with whatever conditions i found myself in. the conditions were now a dirty bus that was blaring hindi music at top volume. looking back i suppose i should not have complained and just have been glad that we were getting on with the trip. we were a bit behind schedule and would be getting to the border about an hour late but nothing too drastic..........

after being on the new bus about an hour (same stopping and starting) we stopped dead in the road in what seemed to be a HUGE traffic jam. but there are not enough vehicles in nepal for a traffic jam (outside of kathmandu). everyone pile off the bus and now my temper was starting to come out. i was tired of all the bullshit involved in getting out of nepal and i just wanted to be done with it already. well no such luck since the army had closed down all motor traffic FOR THE DAY. i would have to wait until the next day to get to the border crossing which was only 40 kilometers away.

i stood there standing with the french guy just steaming and trying to figure a way to get on with my journey or just do something other then standing in the nepali countryside. the french guy had made up his mind that he wanted to go back to kathmandu and fly to india becuase he wasnt comfortable with the whole riot thing and since there was no way to continue onwards he may as well go back. as i was standing around the bus i spotted a bike rickshaw and thought what the hell, why not? after discussing the situation in very broken english it was explained to me that 15 kilometers away was lambini (birthplace of buddha) and that i could probably catch a taxi or bus from there to the border. i told the rickshaw to wait while i went and gathered up the french guy but he wanted no part of it. the idea of going on into unknown tumultuous territory was too much for him...typical french. so throwing my backpack onto the rickshaw we headed off down the long paved road and past all the stopped buses and long haul trucks.

the ride itself started out pretty good and the guy was setting a nice pace. as long as i was moving i was ok but i hate just sitting and waiting for nothing inparticular to happen. my bum got a bit sore since the rickshaw has no suspension at all and you felt every single bump but we were in lambini after about an hour with only my ass worse for wear. the problem was that reaching lambini proved nothing of consequence....there was no traffic moving there either and after a brief discussion with the army, there would be no traffic moving for quite awhile. with no choice but to keep on moving on, i climbed back onto the rickshaw and had this poor guy pedal me another 30 kilometers. the sun had set and it was getting chilly as my poor driver began to flag and tire...other rickshaws with ENTIRE families passing him at high speeds. i couldnt really complain though could i? he'd been biking for a good 4 hours now so i kind of had to just accept the fact that i was going at a snails pace. the problem was that the border closed at 7pm for the day and i would be stuck in a border town (no place worse) for the night.

we pulled into the border at 6:15 and as i was doing the necessary paperwork for my entry into india i struck up a conversation with a french couple that was also entering the country.....funny side story, they both actually work in bollywood as dancers in those giant musicals and make pretty damn good money at it.......so instead of taking another bus for 3 hours we shared a taxi that was really quite comfortable and made good time (stopping for chai only once). reaching the town i was confronted with the most frightening of things....an indian train station at night. the filth and mass of humanity is overwhelming. i got in line to buy a ticket and had to lean over what was either A. a dead body B. someone passed out C. someone sleeping...that was lain across the floor directly in front of the window. but having reached my train station and with 3 hours before my train left i ran into a problem...the ticket counter didnt want to sell me a ticket. there was a special counter for tourists that is open from 8am to 5pm and the people i was dealing with didnt want any part of me. after about an hour of causing an uproar at various windows and booths and offices, yelling in english (but strangely using my "apu" accent from the simpsons) that i wanted a fucking ticket and i wanted one now and someone had better get off their asses and give it to me. i had officially snapped and i was tired of the continual bullshit being handed out by these people as they constantly pointed me towards another office. i sat down, pulled out 500 ruppees and wasnt leaving until i got a damn ticket.

seeing that i meant business this time they finally relented and sold me a ticket (was it really that hard?) but the ticket was in the last class of the 5 class system that india runs on. i found that had been the problem all along....the ticket windows only sold tickets for class 5 which is just wooden benches for a 14 hour journey. having finally bought my ticket i joined the french couple outside of the station for dinner (which made me sick to my stomach later of course) and they assured me that i could upgrade when i got on the train, which was good news.

the train proved to be the most pleasant out of all the travels i had to deal with over the last few days. i climbed on the 3rd tier a/c car which was middle of the road but expensive enough to weed out the dirt poor who ride in 5th class. its not that the accomadations are that much better, its just that the people you have to deal with arent quite as offensive. i even got sheets and a blanket this time around and slept 10 hours into the journey. of course it wasnt 14 hours it was 17 but hey whos counting right?

im now in delhi and its crazy and insane and just amazing to watch. the smell of fresh urine mixed with the nice stale urine makes for a aromatic fragarance for sure. the sunlight always has a sunset quality because of the air pollution and the most amazing sight i have seen as of yet was..........a dog, a man and a cow all eating out of the same pile of trash. that is all for now
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