13 Hours in a coffin


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January 3rd 2012
Published: January 5th 2012
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The Sleeper Bus bearthThe Sleeper Bus bearthThe Sleeper Bus bearth

Not a happy face and only a couple of hours in and motion sickness yet to set in...
So the days are numbered now.....

We've just arrived in Mumbai and it was probably one of the worst experiences of the trip.

We planned to take an overnight train but couldn't get a ticket for the date/times we wanted. So we opted for an overnight sleeper bus which took a little longer and suited our plans.

The website advertised the bus as brand new. This could probably have been the first warning sign..... and you could also say this is where we had the first difference of opinion. In fairness the bus wasn't new but it was reasonably modern - just not all that clean and maybe a little warworn.

I think everything needs to be easy to clean. All of the cushions were this vinly, the curtains were brown (presumably not to show the dirt) and the walls were like a brown lino. (I (Russell) don't have much of an interior bone in my body and even I shuddered a little on sight.) Again in fairness it was about the same as first class on a train so there really isn't too much room to complain here.

Applying infinate wisdom comparing trains and buses when we selected our sleepers, we chose the top births so that no one would be climbing up and down over us and ones that were side by side (Two sleepers side by side all the way down each side of the bus) so that we didn't have to sleep next to anyone we didn't know. It sounds great in theory and if this was a first class train cabin it would have worked perfectly. Only this is still a bus.

When we got on the bus we looked at our bearths. The entire birth for two people was smaller than a single bed. To give this more perspective the birth was 5 foot, 9 inches. Somewhat a problem when Russell is 6 foot, 1 inch. The total head room was 60 - 70cm (give or take - it was the height of Russell's forearm and then a third again) which meant that there was very little head room to move in and certainly no room to even sit. The bearth was around the same width.If we both lay on our backs we could only just uncomfortably fit side by side.

There's always an upside right? There were two 120kg guys who didn't know each other trying to share a bearth opposite us. That was funny for five minutes while they tried to figure out how they would fit in.

There was a possibility we might have slept sporadically throughout the night. No such luck there - that upside is dissappearing quickly. One of the two 120 kg guys snores. And not just snores, snores. I've heard guys who snore and make it sound like there's a freight train running through. This guys sounded like an animal. A very big one that was extremely sick and dying. Kind of like Jabba the Hut. Not only does he snore but he snored for 13 hours straight. We shit you not. 9pm he boards, falls asleep and gets that motor going. 10am we disembark and he's still going. Like a freakin everready battery. He didn't get up or even wake up for any of the stops. This man has a problem. There were no spare bearths on the bus so we couldn't move a little further away.

We passed the time discussing the different ways we could stop him snoring. Syinide was a little too extreme and hard to get hold of so the favourites we a sock in the mouth sealed over with duck tape, a pillow over the face secured in place by a belt or simply putting him down below with the luggage. If it were my choice I would have taken the luggage compartment anyway instead of canoodling a 120kg hairy sweety man that smelled like curry.

Let's not get started on the driving. You couldn't sleep anyway because you need to hold on to stop yourself rolling out of the bunk! I know we joked about that as well. The driver even had a small road rage incident where a man got a baseball bat out of his car and started tapping the windscreen of the bus accusionally.

It all sounds extreme and in reality it was just a pretty long and highly unpleasurable night - one that we will avoid attempting to repeat in the future.

Getting off at the wrong stop in the morning was only a minor detail and a 1200rupee taxi ride across town. But we're here now contemplating weather to venture out for the afternoon or simply hide in our room. So far it's been hiding in the room for 3 hours.

PART TWO - 2 Days later

Well we did venture out and we are glad we did. We quickly cast off any predujices of what an Indian City is and started exploring... more and more.

The city is incredible. The architecture influenced by the British has left some amazing monuments and buildings. The city is on the coast and has a long section much the same as Quay St and then Mission Bay. The city has no structured order but surprises you with naturally occuring areas which are incredible to explore.

The vibe of the city is entirely like anything we have been in during our stay in India and we would have happily spent another couple of days looking around here.

Sorry no photos for all of the above - didn't really get organized for this one.

Either way we finish this sitting in Hong Kong airport...... 7:30am tomorrow morning we'll be back on home ground.

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