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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

5 November 2010

F@!*ing bus

WARNING: this post contains expletives (which I feel are fully justified in the circs)

Our bus ride from Bardia to Chitwan was memorable. It included all the cliches: vomiting women, bare-arsed children suckling and roadside wee stops, but those are asides.

There were no seats inside, so we began up on the roof which – rather like a fairground ride – was fun and enthralling for a while, but not for over an hour. Factors to consider include: (1) the rusty metal bars of a giant roofrack are not comfortable seating, (2) at 65mph it feels like my glasses are going to blow off of my face, (3) conversation is nigh impossible, (4) and sitting on top of a bus on a giant roofrack at 65mph is actually a bit scary.

So we were glad to get seats inside. We got the seats at the very back. It quickly became clear why they were the empty ones.

The back end of a big “express” bus on shitty Nepalese roads bucks like a f*cking mule.

The ride is bone-shaking the whole way, and you sit with both hands clutching the two handles sensibly built into the seat in front (and well-worn from the desperate clutching of passengers past). Then every five minutes or less there will be a patch of proper ruts, and the rear end will kick and fling you up into the air to crash back into your seat with a stomach-lurching thud. Much of the time I was in a window seat, which is worse. It is under the luggage rack. The first two ruts smashed my head repeatedly into the rack, after which I learned to slump almost horizontal in the seat to avoid a crack, screwing my spine in the process. Try slumping horizontally in an upright chair for over two hours to get a taste of it, though you’ll have to work out your own way of getting the chair to buck and rattle for the duration.

You’re thinking I’m exaggerating. I’m not. That bus repeatedly flung us eight inches out of our seats. I know because I measured the gap between my head and the luggage rack. So it’s actually more than eight inches, because the f*cking luggage rack stopped my upward movement pretty damn effectively.

Discomfort aside, you can’t read a book, write notes, use a laptop, drink water or even nibble a snack while the bus is crashing along. For nine hours. Don’t worry though, we were let off at a roadside village clogged with snack stands, filth, sh*t and detritus for a half-hour lunch break.

So I can’t particularly recommend the express bus from Bardia to Narayangarh. I can report that it’s somewhat better further forward (someone got off a couple of hours before the end, and we leapt forward like hounds after a hare) and indeed, Maureen finally managed to fall asleep.

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3 Responses to “F@!*ing bus”

  1. Nessa says:

    Wow it must be bad if Maureen couldn’t sleep!! :-)

  2. Jane says:

    I am very glad to see you using your Anglo-Saxon… I’m sorry your bus ride was so craptastic…

    • shortclaws says:

      Well, speaking from more than two weeks later, it will of course become a fun anecdote and no permanent harm done. Such is the way of travelling – things that are horrible at the time become memorable later (providing they don’t kill or maim you).

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