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Kathmandu–Bombay in few easy steps

Dec 18th 2008
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On the top of the <a href="">Good Luck</a> bus

On the top of the Good Luck bus

Do you really want to go from Kathmandu to Bombay without stops? Well, here is how I did it!

After celebrating my shiny new visa the preceding night, I wake up around 5:30AM, and get on a bus to the central bus station. There I have the guy at the counter handwriting my ticket details with candlelight—the usual power-cut—and then I jump on the bus to the border with India. This is a few (nine!) hours of roller-coaster ride inclusive of all entertainments, a full sound-and-colour experience (like the woman in the row before me throwing out every now and then from the window, her breakfast making ever-changing colourful decorations on my window, or like the music, basically the same tape for the whole trip, played by the driver at an incredibly loud volume, preventing me to hear my own mp3-player).

Once at the border, I group with the other westerners trying to optimise the next steps. We then discover that this is not the border, but a city near the border. Another bus trip—this time on the top of the bus, because there were no more places inside, see photo—and we can start the immigration process.

Gorakhpur main road, as seen from the hotel window at 4AM

Gorakhpur main road, as seen from the hotel window at 4AM

After dodging an outrageous amount of baksheesh intents, we are faced with the worst of all. I’m sitting with a Swedish girl on the (only) bus going to Gorakhpur, the city where we are supposed to catch a train to whatever destination. It is already dark, and we are kinda tired. My friend has already a ticket, bought in Nepal, and when she shows it to the ticket guy, another guy shows up: a 190 cm 150 kg angry-looking man.

He starts saying that her ticket is not valid, she has to pay for taxes, conversion, whatever, for a total of nearly 500 Rupees (on top of a 600 Rs ticket!). Obviously we say that we are not going to pay, but the big guy goes: «You pay or you go back to Kathmandu; there are no other buses; you are stuck here.» After a briefing—in Spanish—with the girl, we agree to go down both and try another bus, but as I stand up Hulk starts going nuts: «You can’t go down! You go back to Nepal! You have to pay!» so I start my show as well: «I feel sick! Let me go down! I need to puke!» trying to get the attention of the other passengers—the puke trick never fails :-)

As in the good old times. Photo taken from the train window

As in the good old times. Photo taken from the train window

A nice pile of bricks made with cow poo mixed with hay

A nice pile of bricks made with cow poop mixed with hay

We manage somehow to go down from the bus, but Big Jim follows: «You can’t get your luggage down! You have to pay!» At that point I start to go to every single person that is around us saying Call the police! Please, call the police! It is only at this moment that somebody new—probably from the bus company—appears and tells us with a calm voice to go back on the bus, that there is no problem, and we don’t have to pay any extra.

Still shaking for the adrenaline—and the fear—we go back to the bus that was waiting for us the whole time, and around 10PM we arrive to Gorakhpur.

The reservation counter closes at nine, so I can only get a normal ticket to Bombay. The guy in the chief station room says that I can have my reservation when on the train, no problem. The train is at 4:50AM, I decide to have dinner and find a room. I would say that Gorakhpur is not popular for its brilliant accommodation choices: the rooms were ranging from corpse-smelling to cockroaches-on-blood-stained-sheets. I choose the less-disgusting one and slipped into my sleeping bag, without touching anything.

Happy in Bombay

Happy in Bombay

Once in the train, the ticket inspector dodged me until the end of his shift. The new one told me that there were no more places. We are talking about a 1700 km 39 hours trip, so you can imagine my state. But my very very nice travel mate from Sweden kindly offered me to share one sleeper—as most people were already doing, anyway.
After a night basically awake, we could sleep in the morning when people were away from their sleepers.

I arrived at my hotel in Bombay around 11PM. Not bad at all :-)


This post is filed under Asia, India, Nepal and tagged , , , , , , .

13 Responses

  1. Matta says:

    Ciao Piergi, Happy birthday even if i’m two day later.

    What a nice new look for your blog.

    Your travel is always adventurous and exciting.

  2. Ally says:

    what can I say?
    we check your blog every day and the story goes on….
    (I LIKE THE SMILE IN BOMBAY!!)

  3. cam says:

    HAVE I TO BE WORRY ABOUT YOU? I HAVE TRIED TO CALL YOU AT YOUR BIRTHDAY AND LATER WITH NO ANSWER…NO NEWS…I WAS REALLY WORRIED ABOUT YOU
    BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • pt says:

      Sorry for that.

      Thank you very much for your message, but my phone is out of credit (since in the last two states it is not possible to recharge my company). So I can only receive sms (although I’m trying to have a friend from Delhi doing the recharge on my behalf).

      Now I have a nice internet connection (so I can post a few updates) but still no phone :-(

      Thanks to everybody! I love you guys :-) This new dress is my birthday present for you.

  4. Иван says:

    I lost track of you for a while — I forgot to switch to the new site. Now I am back on course :)

    Good luck with the travel.

  5. piano renzo says:

    we think of you almost every day… for many reasons
    tomorrow nine “ear trumpets”
    have a nice trip

  6. cugina Barbara says:

    CIAO CUGINO!Finalmente mi hanno sistemato il pc,così,con un vergognoso ritardo,ora riesco a farti gli AUGURI DI COMPLEANNO!!!! :-(
    SORRYYYYYY!!!!!!
    Spero tutto proceda per il meglio.Baci baci baci!
    B.

  7. piano renzo says:

    sorry
    ‘m going crazy as you can read
    Ear trumpets=cornetto
    –> http://www.wordreference.com/iten/cornetti
    sorry

    • pt says:

      Ha ha ah ah ah aha ha ah ah ah ah aha ha ah ah aha ha ha ah ah ah ah aha ha ah ah ah aha ha ha aha ha aha !!! LOL!

      Nine? The guys of Coin are back and you are hosting a morning party? Or this includes la Ciotti, the little eng, Pomante, the Ucrainian, signor Esse con moglie e prole? :-)

  8. marco says:

    Finalmente riesco nuovamente a vedere il tuo diario. Da metà dicembre non riuscivo più ada ccedere alla tua pagina. Vewdo che tutto prosegue… Spero che gl ultimi spostamenti siano stati più agevoli.
    Dove sei ora?

  9. zio Paolo says:

    Watching photo on the bus I thought it was me: my bearded face of some months ago.
    Hope you found any stringed instrument to show your latin ability. Keep on surfing
    with pleasure.
    zio Paolo 20090323

  10. zio Paolo says:

    9 ear trumpets significa: 9 tirate d’orecchie

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