Never take 2x2 sleeper

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
Trip End Jul 22, 2014

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Flag of India  , Maharashtra,
Monday, October 1, 2012

Went into town and booked my ticket to Varanasi. Told it was a 2X2 sleeper bus and would take about 16 hours. The bus leaves at 4pm so I have the day to wander around town. Lots of little street stores selling just about anything you want. Lots of little twist dusty lanes and each lane sells something different. One will have food, another will be doctors or clothes or plastic goods or motor repairs and spares. Everyone wants to chat or take my photo.

Once you leave a big city like Mumbai there is no more English. In Mumbai road signs etc are in Hindi and English. Most people speak a bit of English. Here everything is in Sanskrit, even the bus numbers. You have no way of deciphering anything. Got to the bus early and managed to find my berth. Ha ha ha 2X2 berth is not want I thought. 2X2 means two people per bunk!!! A bunk is about one meter wide, no wider than a single bed. It is thinly padded and covered in torn vinyl. You can not sit up with hunching otherwise you bump your head on the ceiling. This space must hold 2 people and all your luggage.

Everyone who has travelled in Asia or the sub continent has experienced a bus ride from hell. I don't think mine is any worse and maybe I will have worse journies. You can only lie down shoulder to shoulder next to travelling companion. The bus is hot, dusty and noisy. The road is full of potholes. Every Boeing your body and muscle aches. Your teeth rattle in your head. There is a speaker blaring music 50cm from your head. There is no where to stand and stretch your legs. The bus has a hooter that sounds like a trumpeting elephant and is used all the time. There is no toilet. Travellers tip : do not eat a mutton curry before embarking on a 16 hour bus trip. There is nothing to do but lie there and count down the hours. Fortunately my travel buddy got off at about 1.30 so I had the bunk to myself.

But this is travelling and something always comes along to make it better. Every so often the bus would stop at different villages or food stalls. One of the bus drivers would come to my bunk and take me by the hand and lead me to stall. These were nothing more than fly infested shacks where food was cooked on open fires. He obviously got free food and chai as no money changed hands. He insisted that I share his food with him and the other bus drivers. None of them spoke English and we couldn't understand each other but we laughed and shared food and cigarettes. After each stop he would take me by the hand and lead me back to the bus. He made the trip for me. I lay on the bunk and watched the sun rise and just watch the landscape slide by. It got hotter and more sweaty as the day went on. At one stage the bus pulled over and it took about 20 minutes to repair the tyre. The wheel was removed and the tyre pushed down the road, replaced or fixed and we soon on th road again.
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