Bus to Goa
My friend and fellow Indian traveller, Jana Owen is putting together a blog, “you know your new to India when…” and while meeting some other American travelers in Arambol, Goa we realized another fact. When many travellers get to India, they create blogs of all of the quirky mishaps. Blogs often trail off because you slowly realize that these mishaps were not cute, quirky, unique happenings – they are every day life here in India. Each day brings something new, and you get to the point where when you’re not busy handling the mishap, you just want to relax. The last thing you want to do is relive the annoying stuff going on by blogging about it.
So, Jana, you know you’re new to India when you still have energy to blog about the “interesting adventure.”
After returning from the WPA Championships in Mexico, I’ve been scant on the blogging. I’m tired of travelling and tired of the unique events in my life. After the first two months with blogs rambling about my mishaps and the odd things I saw in India, I got to the point where none of it was surprising me anymore.
I hopped a plane to Mangalore from Pune to grab my surf SUP so that I could have it with me in Goa for the next month or so. The awesome guys with Surfing India were nice enough to drop my board and me at the bus stop; for this I am beyond thankful. You see, in India there isn’t really any such thing as a “bus stop” for the longer travel busses. After you purchase your ticket online, you are provided with vague landmarks to aid you in finding your bus pick-up-point. Rarely is there an actual bus station, most of the times it will be a gas station, a store, the side of the road, or under some overpass somewhere. Signs are also not required for a location to be a bus stop. If you are given an actual store or valid landmark, you sure as hell can’t Google Map it… you’ll just receive a pinpoint on the map indicating which city it is in. The cities are big, and this is of no use.
If others have already gotten on the bus before you, it is luck of the draw if there is any room for your luggage. In my case, with a surfboard, I had to strap it to the roof of the bus by myself. When the driver decided it was time to go, he just started driving. Luckily, Corey was loading our other gear in the bus and stopped the driver; he let me off the roof, and let me get on the bus. As I boarded, he angrily pointed at his watch and said, “TIME! LATE!” I replied with an affectionate, “FUCK YOU, I HAD TO LOAD MY SHIT ALONE!” After settling into the sleeper seat the bus took off. With speeds ranging from 30 to 110 MPH, I didn’t get much sleep worrying about my board. The bus alternated between lurching accelerations and intense braking, it swayed side to side around mountain cliffs and in between dodging small cars and scooters in the night. Corey took the outside of the sleeper and almost flew out a few times. Speed bumps would often wake us up when our bodies were thrown from the bed into the ceiling. If you understand the bus system, you are smart enough to dehydrate yourself before the trip so you don’t have to pee. They make one stop in the 12-14 hour drive for passengers to take a break. The driver, however, may make a few stops to pee, but he’s quick and he will drive away without you if you’ve yet to finish. At one point, I couldn’t take it anymore; I had slept through the rest stop and had to go. I went up and sat behind the driver to wait. When he stopped for his driver-only break, I leapt from the bus, hiked up my dress, and took a pee standing. The driver looked over with this shocked look after he realized I was a female.