this is where we sat in the middle of the night for about 2 hours before we were able to get our bus. Senses were on high the entire time.. no time to rest in India!
Our first bus ride in India was a real adventure. We weren't planning on taking buses ever in India because driving on the roads in this country is horrendous. There is constant honking, lane switching, and dramatic brake usage on the roads and we just didn't want to submit ourselves to 7+ hours of this. Unfortunately for us, we didn't heed our friend's advice and book our train tickets in advance, instead we wanted to go with the flow and decide as we went how long we stayed in each city. We were able to get one train ride from Delhi to Agra, but any other trip we needed was already booked for the next month! We had no other choice but to take buses or private cars to any destination from then on out. It seemed easy enough though, there are plenty of websites where you can book your tickets online. So that's what we did. We booked an overnight sleeper bus to Udaipur from Jaipur. The website was through a private company and it promised A/C. We were excited for the opportunity to laydown and sleep through our journey. The ticket said that the pick up location was "Jaipur"
and the time of departure was 11:59 pm. We inquired to our hotel as to where we should go for the pick up location because Jaipur is a city, not a single location. He assured us he knew where this private company picked up and organized a rickshaw for us for later that night.
We arrived to a bus station in Jaipur at 11 pm, a full hour to spare. It was bouncing with activity and we had no sense of where to go. We found an "inquiry" station, so we "inquired" as to where we should wait for our bus. The guy behind the bars seemed really annoyed with our presence and told us to come back at 11:45 pm to ask. This seemed normal enough. Things in India always seem to be very last minute, but it works for them. We find an A/C waiting building in the center of the bus station and take refuge from the 100 degree heat at 11 pm at night. Once it's 11:45, we send Ben to go find out where we need to go. When Ben comes back, he is very frazzled, he says the guy told him we are at the wrong bus station but wouldn't give any further instruction and waved him aside. We get treated like this a lot. So we pick up our belongings and march out to the gates. My mind was racing. We only had 10 minutes to find our bus or we'd be out of our ride and stuck in the middle of Jaipur without a hotel booking. Ben seems like he's on a mission but doesn't really include anyone in his thoughts. I begin to worry and decide to try and ask a local police officer. The police officer didn't have much to tell us and then we were bombarded by at least 10 men who were trying to help us. It was very intense. Here it was, 5 minutes before our bus was to depart and we had no idea who was really willing to give us help or just try to "help" us for money. Rickshaw drivers constantly in our ears about getting a ride, men telling us to go in various directions, and Ben who seemed to want to ignore everyone. Finally, we followed one guy across the highway, past the construction area, and down a really dirty street. There were buses pulling in and out of this street without any sense of organization. He pointed us down the street and told us this is where we would be able to find our bus. We were left alone to figure it out. We found a bus ticket business and asked the guy sitting at the desk. He looked at our ticket and then told us that he would let us know which was our bus. It was exactly midnight at that point. We looked around us and there were cows, garbage, water, and men everywhere. We found a ledge to sit on near the bus ticket business and began waiting. We watched tons of buses pull in and pull out. No one made any sort of announcements as to where these buses were going. Men climbed to the top of the buses and took their seats. People curiously stared out of the buses at us sitting on the side of the street. An hour passed. We kept looking towards the business man wondering if he had forgotten us. We had no idea if our bus was one of the buses that easily pulled in, picked up a passenger, and then was on it's way again. Finally, we made Ben go ask the man to make sure we were still in the clear. We were exhausted and just ready to be on our way. The man was irritated that we bothered him by double checking. He reassured Ben with a wave and a nod that he would tell us when our bus was there. Another 20 minutes go by, and he then tells us to follow this man. In two seconds we grab all our stuff and follow the man. He leads us to a rickshaw and bids us to get in. By this point, we don't even ask any questions. He drives us to the end of the street and parks along the side of the road. He tells us our bus will stop and pick us up there. We didn't know if it would be the bus we had paid for but by that point we just wanted to be on a bus.
The rickshaw driver was very nice and gave us some small talk to take our minds off of the stressful evening. Ten minutes later, two bright lights appear in the distance and our rickshaw driver announces that it's our bus. We practically fall out of the rickshaw with all our things ready to go. It arrived at 1:30 am. We had no idea why this occurred. Maybe we really did miss our scheduled bus and they made room for us on another or our bus was just really late. We will never know. Once on the bus we were in heaven. Ben had his own compartment and Lauren and I shared a double compartment. It was really hard to climb up to our bunks but once we were in and comfortable it felt like I fell asleep within seconds of laying down. We arrived Udaipur safely and well rested. Traveling by sleeper bus is a great way to go in India. It's bumpy and shaky but it's way better than an overnight bus where you must sit up the entire way. We are now very careful as to how we book transportation. Before we make any transport decisions we cover all our bases, especially knowing where the pickup location is. So far, it's been smooth sailing. 😊
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