From Pokhara to Shimla

Before I reached Shimla, the starting point of my cycling trip through the Himalaya this year, I had to challenge a 48hours bus trip all the way from Nepal to India. My empress and my very good friend Tsetan brought me to the bus station where the first leg, a 22hours bus nightmare to the border town of Mahendranagr, the most western point in Nepal. During this 22hours there was only one driver (yes one!), and at one point he seemed very tired, while I hoped he knows some ‘keep awake medicines’. After the food break, just ten hours after departure, he became very active, as he drove this vehicle as a wild gone   that winding roads in a pitch dark night.  I think my hopes became true, but here I found myself praying that he will become sober as soon as possible. The bus was not in a better condition than his driver, as it rained outside very strong, it started pouring through the bus ceiling inside. At one point it felt like in a cave, but I took this as a welcome refreshment because of the heat from outside. But it became even worse, as the viper was not working at all, and driver and one conductor ended up pressing their noses into the front window, while the second one was hanging out of the door to give instructions about what is coming ahead. After all suddenly we stopped in the middle of nowhere with an engine problem. The staff discussed a while, and a cooper wire was taken out of an electrical thing, one head and the belonging arms disappeared in the engine room and one minute after we kept going again, thanks to a small cooper wire. A very drunk man also wanted my attention while shouting out loudly into my direction, but after he recognized that I am deaf to his nonsense talk, he started complaining out loudly about the snoring man behind him, what was very annoying because he make more disturbing than that deep sleeping man, but not enough, as he also fell asleep he cut the whole rainforest even louder than that other one, but for sure he did not complain at all now. After we reached Mahendrangar I got familiar with the topatops of Nepali music of the last 50years (quite a few nice among them), and know how many porn movies the man behind me stores on his cellphone (quite a few), he was watching in full volume during the entire trip. I made the last five km to the border very quickly and was very confident to change my last Nepali rupees into Indian one at the changing booth in front of the Immigration, but here I was told that they don’t have Indian bills and I have to go back to town to the bank offices. I went back, begged in three offices the last Indian bills, it seemed that there is a shortage of Indian money over here. Maybe all the other tourists came after me made a long face, but sorry guys, first come first serve. The border crossing was as easy as always (I took this for the third time), only the Indian official was not very happy about my one day overstay on my Nepali visa, which was no problem at all. they even didn’t fined me for that. After he told me in a very strict voice ‘in India not possible’ , I got my passport stamped and here I am back in India, the country of impressions, positive as negative. The further upcoming trip was more straightforward than supposed. I got a direct bus to Haridwar, another 9 hours. I arrived there around 10pm and it was still damned hot as i directly jumped into another bus to Shimla and avoided to stay for one night in that holy Hindu city. To Shimla it took 12 hours more in a rattle trap, but finally i reached Shimla dead tired, went straight to the hotel where i got stacked last year with a Guardia, but it is still the cheapest in that overpriced hill station. For the next two days I recovered from that trip, got prepared for my cycle trip through the Himalaya this year…

bottom line: did I tell that I hate bus trips? As riding the bike I mostly have the control of everything, but taking puplictransport I give my life in the hand of a not trusty looking driver. This thought doesn’t make me feel comfortable. Now any die-hard cyclist would say, why he don’t cycle all this way, well I did this stretch, even some parts already two times in 2008 and 2009, and I can say it is quite boring one…


1 Response to “From Pokhara to Shimla”

  1. August 3, 2011 at 3:46 am

    Having lived in Bhutan for three years, I can somewhat relate to this dangerous but hilarious bus journey. Bhutan doesn’t have any night buses though. You travel only during the day. But if the engine stalls in the middle of nowhere (the whole country is in the middle of nowhere, in fact) and it takes them a few hours to fix it, then you might be forced to take a night journey.

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