The Epic Bus Journey to Aurangabad

Trip Start Oct 22, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Salvation Army Hostel

Flag of India  ,
Saturday, October 29, 2005

Where to begin?

Initially we tried to get a train to Aurangabad but found out they were fully booked (we think as we never got to the front of the queue before being hassled by a bus company guy). He suggested we go there on a luxury sleeper bus with air conditioning. The pictures looked very nice but the cost was way too high. In Australian dollars it was cheap but we're ever vigilant trying to save money where we can. The second and cheaper option was a non-airconditioned bus with reclining seats (again the picture looked pretty good). We accepted and managed to get the last two seats on the bus, right down the back. The bus was to leave at 8pm and we were to return there at 7pm.

With our bus trip booked we headed back to the Salvation Army hostel, via McDonalds for a local chicken pan meal that wasn't too bad. We also went shopping for some food at a super market as we didn't want to risk getting sick on the bus eating the local food.

At 6.55pm we showed up at the bus agency to be told we needed to come back at 7.30pm. We waited across the road, in amongst the Victoria Station begging fraternity. At 7.30pm a guy yelled out across the road to follow him to the bus. He then took off at a cracking pace through the massive crowd. We managed to keep up with him and after 15mins of walking who knows where we arrived at a second bus agency office, this one different from the one we booked at. They then said to wait there for the bus leaving at 9pm. We waited there for about 30mins when one of the agency guys hails a taxi and asks us to get in with all our gear. The taxi is taking us to the bus! The taxi drives us through the back blocks of Mumbai and drops us in the middle of know where - also no bus. A concerned police officer asked us if we needed a taxi or assistance but as he did, around the corner pulls up a bus. We had to negotiate our way across the road (like trying to get across the South Eastern in peak hour) and finally got on an empty bus. We were in the last two seats on the left side. The seats could not be reclined but with no leg room we managed to stuff our packs down behind our seats. This began the interesting process of picking up people across Mumbai as we headed out of the city.

Talking to a few people on the bus we realised that we'd been ripped off a bit. They paid 250, whereas we had paid 450 rupees. In all not much when you convert it back to the Aussie dollar. They did have a laugh at our expense though, but also helped us sort out the ticket and gave some good general advise. Overall the locals in India are very friendly and helpful, you just need to be careful of the ones helping you, but expecting money or you to buy something from them. To get away from the continual touts we're pretending we're German tourists.

The night bus ride was very very long. In total about 12 hours to travel (we think) about 300 kilometers. This was because of a lot of road works (where we just stopped for about 30mins) and the 4 hourly road stops/toilet breaks. The ride was pretty dirty and hot but it was great to experience how the locals get around. Megan really liked the white head rests. They were in need of a bit of Nappy San.

Our first bus ride in India - an experience to say the least!
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