Saturday, November 24, 2012

An interesting bus ride

There is no train from Jodhpur to a Udaipur, so instead I went by bus. Even though technically there were assigned seats, because so few people were there the morning I left Jodhpur the guy said I could sit anywhere. It was a sleeper bus, which means that in addition to normal seats on one side of the aisle there were also sleeping berths above the seats and stacked on the other side of the aisle. I think maybe twelve berths total? Only one seat did not have something overhead, and that was in the very back right on the aisle. So I picked that seat. Plus.. Added bonus of having room to stretch out my legs!

One thing I had not realized about sitting in the back of the bus... When we hit a bump I would go FLYING! I don't know if the busses in India even know what shocks are. *Laughs* but it was fun. Like an amusement park ride.

I don't know how long I was on the bus before the big crowd boarded. I also don't know if it was one big family or a group of families, but wow there were a lot of people! And since the most room was back where I was, that's where they all headed. Most of them climbed up into the berths... men, women, and kids crowded together. One man had no "inside voice" and so was doing all his talking in a mighty roar. And with his crazy eyes and wild hair I was reminded of a character from the movie Lagaan. My sister Tracy will probably know who I'm talking about.

The hotel I'd stayed at had given me not only my breakfast to go, but the breakfast of two other people who never showed. Since I didn't need three breakfasts, and couldn't eat the bananas anyway (allergic), I offered the food to the people around me. It was accepted with many smiles in return.

Two kids immediately took a shine to me and they climbed up and sat with me for the whole ride. And naturally, I don't speak Hindi and they don't speak English but we had a great time nonetheless. Several women a bit further up had a very cute child asleep on their laps, and when I smiled at them they motioned for me to come forward. I did, and again with no shared langauge we managed to have a great conversation. Then another lady reached out of her berth up above (she'd been listening to us) and offered me a bead necklace as a gift. And as by this point it was nearing lunch time, another woman pulled out her homemade lunch and offered me some. Chapatti and some sort of cooked chillies. Ooooh they were tasty! Spicy as hell, yes, and everybody got a good chuckle out of watching me eat the chillies. But damn I really enjoyed myself.

I pulled out my iPad and showed everyone the pictures I had of my family, and then they wanted to also see my trip photos. People were dangling out of berths to watch the slideshow and everyone had fun shouting out the places they recognized in my pictures. I eventually went back to my seat at the back of the bus and read my book and listened to my iPod. I was listening to my dad's CDs, so I offered the kids my earbuds and let them hear my dad singing and they seemed to like it.

They didn't stay all the way through to Udaipur though, so when they all got off the bus truly seemed like a dead zone without all the chatter and energy. It had been a lot of fun, and I even ended up with a pretty necklace to remember it by!

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