Monday, July 14, 2008

Crazy bus journey (Pokhara - Sunauli - Varanasi)

We had a bus ticket from Pokhara to Sunauli (the Nepal/India border), but no concrete plan as to how to get to Varanasi. We figured we could find out a way once we got to the border. Of course we had some basic knowledge of how it would work out, but it didn't turn out that way at all! We were thinking we'd spend a night in either Sunauli or Gorakhpur (town not far from the border on the Indian side), but things happened so quickly, we ended up making our way all the way to Varanasi.

The bus ride from Pokhara was at times a bit scary! The roads were winding around, as we were in the mountains, and the bus driver was sometimes going a bit too fast for me! I felt like the bus was going to just tip over and we were going to go crashing into the valley. Well, here I am, so obviously that did not happen. Anyway, so it was like a 7-8 hour ride... we were like 10 km from the border, then...... encounter the effects of a STRIKE at the border. There is a major standstill in traffic, a long line of trucks and buses. So we couldn't go anywhere. Everyone on the bus got out, but I decided to stay inside to take a nap, haha.

Probably about an hour after the bus had stopped, Claudio comes and wakes me and says that we're taking another bus. Apparently he had been talking with the other foreigners on the bus, and they found another bus that would head towards the border taking another route. This was just a different bus, but with only locals... and full. So I ended up sitting in the aisle on a suitcase... it actually wasn't too uncomfortable, haha. Three Spanish guys who were on our original bus with us and Claudio sat on the top of the bus (haha) and a Spanish girl and a Korean girl were also in the aisle with me. Needless to say, it was a full bus. It took about an hour to get there... and we weren't even driven to the border. We had to take a cycle rickshaw for another half hour or so to get us to the border.

Once we got to the Nepal border, we went through immigration there... then walked right across the border into Indian territory. It was pretty sweet. Then we stopped at immigrations in India.

And then this guy comes up to us telling us he could drive us in his jeep to Varanasi. (All of us were going to Varanasi, but the Spanish guys already had train tickets booked.) We declined, saying we were going to look for bus options. Then this guy proceeded to encourage us to take a look at his jeep... we continued to decline, and then he offered to show us which way to go to take the bus. Yes, he pointed us in the direction of the bus alright, but he made us go the long way! Why? Because he wanted us to miss the bus, so we would be more likely to opt to take his jeep! We just barely made the bus headed to Varanasi! Within five minutes of boarding the bus, it was taking off. This was just a regular local bus... It was around 7pm... took about 10 hours to get there... what a journey it was. I was able to get a window seat, so I was able to get relatively comfortable to get some sleep.... but dang, there was one portion of the trip that for real, it would not have been possible for anyone to sleep! (Actually might have happened a couple of times.) But in particular, at around 2am, there were major potholes in the road... and I mean MAJOR. The ride was so incredibly bumpy, it was ridiculous... kinda funny actually haha. At one point, I was lifted so high up my seat, that when I came down, it was like BANG... hurt my butt bad! haha. After that, I adjusted myself in such a way to avoid that from happening again haha.

But what an interesting journey... Oh, and this one dude fell asleep on me for the last hour or so of the ride... He seemed like he was getting comfortable, so I didn't want to be rude and push him off... haha.

So then around 4:45am..... we reached Varanasi.... and as mentioned earlier, completely didn't expect to reach so soon... as we didn't expect to immediately find an overnight bus... But basically we were in a bus for like 20 hours... almost straight... just got out to cross the border...

It was great though, haha.

I completely regret not taking ANY pictures throughout this venture, particularly at the border!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment