As usual, people have made us think negatively about something in India and they have been completely wrong. We had some problems booking the train to Mumbai from Hampi, so we decided to go on the bus.
Whenever we mentioned to someone that we were taking the bus, we would always get the same reply…”you are brave” or “wow, that is crazy” or “Oh, poor you” We got ourselves so worked up before leaving that I actually had a few butterflies in my stomach in the rickshaw on the way to the station.
I don't know why I was worried. We have ridden some of the worst buses in the world during our past travels. In Cambodia the roads were so bad that we broke something every time we got on a bus and had to pull over for repairs on a regular basis on all buses. In Laos we drove on a decrepit bus filled with lobsters and produce.
In Vietnam we saw traffic fatalities often and in Peru, Dave had a journey with the broken seat in front of him practically sitting on his lap. I don't think that buses could ever get much worse than some of the stuff we have been on.
But for some reason, the hype has gotten to us here in India. We seem to listen to everyone too much and let their stories and negativity get under our skin.
Before getting on the bus I worried about everything. I thought to myself, are the drivers crazy? is the bus filthy? are the roads in such bad condition that I am taking my life in my hands? It was absolutely ridiculous.
And then our bus arrived.
It was a good looking Volvo semi sleeper looking all shiny and new. A sweet little guy took our bags and asked us what stop we wanted to get off at in Mumbai. We had no idea, we thought that it only stopped at the main bus terminal. Nope, it didn't go there, but it stopped at many other places.
That is when a helpful man stepped in and asked us where we wanted to stay. He told us the stop that we wanted and how much we should pay for a cab.
It was so easy.
The Volvo buses are in great shape and there are two drivers for long trips. One relaxed and slept that journey while the other drove. I am assuming that the other driver will be driving back. They are dressed in crisp white uniforms, they are polite and they have an assistant to help out as well. Very professionally run I must say!
When we got on the bus, we had a great seat right at the very front. Lots of leg room, a cozy blanket and a clean seat that reclined. We were very comfortable. Our only worry now was the loud movies playing all night long.
Not to worry!
The alternate driver kept the volume at a very respectable level and the movie even had English subtitles. We both enjoyed the movie very much. I only wish that I knew the name to recommend it to people at home. I must say, Bollywood is alive and well and they have great production value and scripts. What a great flick. I laughed and I cried and I am not joking!
We stopped for some snacks and everyone was quick to serve Dave and I. They offered to help with whatever we needed and even showed us to the toilet so that we didn't have to pee on the sidewalk. Anyone could have gone to the loo, but most chose to go against a wall. Not sure why, the toilet was fine.
Back on the bus we actually had a pretty decent sleep. It was more comfortable than an airplane that is for sure.
We arrived in Mumbai in the morning and couldn't understand why people put the buses down so much. Why does everyone speak so poorly of India when they travel?
I wrote a post before leaving for India talking about my fears. I mentioned that everyone I have ever talked to doesn't really have anything good to say about their time in the country, but they conclude with “but I am so glad that I went there”
For us, we haven't had many problems. It is cleaner than we expected, friendly, safe and pleasant to travel through. We have had far more difficult travels and so far, we are finding India easy. Now that we have figured out how to book trains online, I think it is going to be amazing here.