Monday, August 20, 2007

Back in Delhi

It was supposed to be a 16 hour bus ride.

I'm getting ahead of myself slightly though. Yesterday, I packed up all my stuff, gave my last read book away, waved to the tourists openly smoking chillums at the bus-stop, and boarded a 1.5 hour local bus (bags, and some passengers on top, and lots and lots of other passengers inside). Due to the unwritten rules of decency, I had to stand for 1.5 hours, with my face close enough to a chap's armpit that I could see the individual hairs, all so that two scantily clad Israeli girls could sit down. Grrrr.

The local bus was insanely overpacked. There is always space for one more person, and while I usually feel bad for people who have to stand close to my stinking self, I can honestly say that some of the characters next to me must have come straight from handling cow shit. In addition to the armpit in my face, another gentleman stood very very closely behind me for about half an hour, muttering quietly, with what can best be described as a warm lump from somewhere in his crotch region pressed into my jeans-covered bottom. There honestly wasn't any room at all to move around, and so I spent most of the journey concentrating on not falling over, and on giving the seated Israeli girls the stink-eye.

The local bus dropped me off in Bhuntar, where I made my way to a private travel agency across the road from the airport (note to self, next time, fly to Kulu).

An hour and a half later, my deluxe VIP sleeper bus rolled up.

While the lying bastard of a travel agent who sold me the ticket insisted that I had a sleeper cabin in the middle of the bus, when the bus actually showed up, it turned out that I had the very last single sleeper at the back of the bus... which promised to make for a super bumpy ride....

The sleeper compartments of the bus were occupied by tourists, israelis for the most part - while the cheaper "push back" seats below us were occupied by a few Indians, and a whole lot of (what looked like) tibetian nuns.

The journey was supposed to take about 16 hours, putting us in to Delhi sometime in the morning.

At 9AM, we pulled up at a rest-stop approx 250KM from Delhi with a flat tire. I also found out that we spent about 4 hours during the night sitting in a traffic jam. This wasn't going to be pretty.

As the sun rose, the bus got hotter - and thus the entire bus soon smelled of body odor, farts and feet. No matter how holy the nuns may be - their sweaty stinking bodies still smelled as bad as the rest of ours.

I have to admit - that seeing a buddhist nun drinking a coke and eating a chocolate bar just doesn't seem quite right... although I suppose they have just as much a right to enjoy western corporate culture as the rest of us.

Eventually, at around 4PM, the bus pulled into Delhi, making it an approx 20 hour journey.

I've got a dentist apt. booked for 11:30AM. It'll give me 3 days to have whatever work needs to be done. I'll try and take care of a bit of shopping - although Indian clothes tend to fall apart, so there isn't much point in buying them.

I leave for the US on Thursday night.

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