Thursday, November 25, 2010

Travelling long distance by bus

As someone with both the experience of delaying buses as well as missing them by a 24 hour interval, I feel emboldened enough to tell you what to do to travel well:
  1. Keep a warm jacket: Most Volvo buses nowadays, are either too cold, or getting there. The other issue, is that some of them offer you blankets, which might actually be a mini zoo for animals not even named yet. This also means that you should ideally wear shoes and long pants, to prevent the zoo considering you as dinner.
  2. Keep the number of your bus driver/conductor, so you know whether they are going to be early or late. Also helps if you are going to be late, and need them to keep the bus waiting :p
  3. Stay away from fizzy drinks, and an empty stomach. The claustrophobic nature of most Volvos, need no incentive to make you empty your guts out, so don't try liquid diets.
  4. Never ask your driver what time you will reach, he will never tell you the truth. Look around for seasoned passengers.
  5. Turn off your phone around 9 p.m. so that you have enough charge, just in case your bus gets stuck(the bridge overflows, the tyre bursts, or the axle breaks, who knows? ), and your loved ones are trying to frantically contact you. Believe me, at that time, Twitter does not help. Especially resist the temptation to keep music playing on your phone the whole night, even if it's just radio.
  6. Always tell the driver when you are out of the bus, whether you are alone or not. You don't want your luggage reaching before you.
  7. Look for food:There are certain places like Hotel Khalsa Palace, where you can get adventurous enough to try the prawn and whiskey, but otherwise, beware... Dal Fry and Roti are usually your safest bet. While everyone will usually run towards the front of the bus for their food and drink, sometimes, like at Kudal on the way back from Goa, it pays to look behind the bus, for awesome egg bhurji and tea.
  8. Runaway from overzealous rickshaw drivers: Once the bus reaches the destination, stay away from the first rickshaw driver you see, usually he is looking to fleece you for double, to cover his waiting for the bus. Running rickshaws on the road, are usually cheaper. Stick to the meter, where possible. Again, watch what the veterans do.
  9. Careful of the last seat: If you happen to be given the rollercoaster seats, the last seat, at-least try to save your luggage from the same, smashed up fate. Keep your camera bag or laptop bag, towards the front of the bus, so that you don't reach your destination, realising that your valuables are more banged up than you are.
  10. Look for local food: If you are in Delhi, make sure that you actually take food from the local hand cart, like alu tikki, it just might be the best you have ever had.
  11. Eat before you travel, in case the bus reaches the food point after your usual dinner schedule.
  12. If your bus, like the KSRTC, provides seatbelts, wear them. They usually have a good reason for being there, like if you get the first seat, or if your driver uses to change F1 wheels.

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