The Bus Journey from Hell (1)

In Jorhat I had a decision to make. To further explore and see the delights of Upper Assam or to turn down south and see the funkiness of one of India’s smallest states, Tripura. There were advantages to both. Assam, wth its allure and easy infrastructure would make travelling a breeze, plus the amount of history in the state. Tripura was the unknown, but difficult to travel around. Of course, that is what sealed it for me – difficult. I knew I was going to come back to Assam, but was I ever going to ‘go back’ to Tripura. This holiday was about introducing myself, not indulging, so I decided to head to Tripura, to introduce myself to that state, vowing to return to beautiful Assam…

There is a train line that links Agatarla, Tripura’s capital with Assam, but due to insurgency problems, it was shut for the month. That left only a bus journey down south as my choice of getting to this tiny hill state. So the only way to get in or out were by air or by road. FLying, while easy, is a sanitised way to travel. No fun, very little contact with the ground and the amount of times you have to kick about at airport can drain the lifeblood out of any sane traveller. So it was by road that I decided to travel from Upper Assam into Tripura.

The first part of the journey was easy. At 6am on May 15th, I hopped into a shared taxi and watched Assam fly by as I went from Jorhat to Guwahati. On the road were temples, elephants pulling logs, a rhino playing in a paddy field and glorious weather shining on the tea estates. In that taxi were a bunch of other peeps on their way to the state capital, including one snooty little man who had his precious suitcase wth him. He was a prat, playing crappy Bollywood tracks from his tinny mobile phone. He was a prat, not for his music taste, but because he smacked the conductor (only a kid) for shifting his suitcase in the back of the taxi. If his suitcase is so precious, then hire the whole van. What a wanker. Thankfully, the taxi driver had some funky Assamese music blasting from the in-car stereo, and the imbecile with his precious cargo had to sit in silence. Really his behavior was appaling, one of the ‘noveaux riches’ that expects everyone to be his servant. Anyway, here is that magnificent van at the breakfast stop in Jakhalabondha:

The taxi dropped me on the edge of Guwahati and I got into the centre just after midday. After lunch (Nandita Fast Food rules – Rs15 to fill yourself up!) I went to the bus station. For some reason I headed to the counter for Pooja travels. Now, if anyone here is reading this blog and is planing a journey round the North East, then take this one piece of advice. If you want to get somewhere on time and in one piece then avoid Pooja travels.

However, if you are up for an adventure into the unknown, then take a Pooja branded bus. It will not get you to your destination. I promise you that. Even the locals avoid it at all costs. They will advise you against traveling on Pooja. I had a great laugh on this journey, and experienced a side of India that will be all but gone in a few years time. If you want to risk life and limb and are in no rush to get anywhere fast, then take Pooja Travels. Buy your ticket from ‘Pooja’ and wait for the adventure to begin…

So at around 5pm I got on a shuttle from the Central bus stand to Guwahati’s Inter-State bus stand, located in a shiny new-build suburb to the south of the city. A model of efficiency that dwarfs Victoria coach station. I decided to get on the ‘6pm’ bus to Tripura as in theory, it would be a fifteen hour ride that would bring me into Agatarla at the earliest, 9am and at the latest 11am on May 16th.

Little did I realise what would await me. A fifty hour ride into the depths of the Indian countryside, experiencing every type of incompetence known to humanity. I also got to see sights that many other tourists whoosh by. The unpleasant bit was that I had no access to a bathroom or decent toilet (number 2) for over a day. Other than that, the memories that I have will last long into my senile years. Join me tomorrow for part 2 of the bus journey from hell…

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2 Comments

Filed under asia, india, places, tomfoolery, travel

2 responses to “The Bus Journey from Hell (1)

  1. Pingback: Charlie’s Second Holiday to Poland – a look back at Poznan | The Blog of El Director!

  2. Pingback: Leaving London without style – Victoria Coach Station | The Blog of El Director!

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