Uneventful, yet painful. That would the only way you could describe today’s bus journey. Although the seats on the bus weren’t broken, the owner was clearly inspired by cheap flight airlines and the rows of seats were really close together. We had to swap places half way through the journey as the pain in my knee caps had become unbearable. We both had bruises that evening to prove it.
But, back to the beginning. The aforementioned 7am bus didn’t actually leave until 07:30. There must be a dozen ways you could explain half past an hour in any language, but clearly that’s wishful thinking… ahem! So, arriving at 06:15, we were cold from having packed our fleeces away and we were optimistic that the sun would be out to greet us on our final day in Varanasi. Alas, we were wrong. The sun finally put its hat on, and the other passengers began to stir enough that we stopped long enough for people to get out and stretch. For Katherine, that meant a personal escort from the Indian equivalent of the ‘Cheshire Cat x Phileas Fogg’ to the hospital where he made the security guards open the building so she could use the toilet. The same gentleman, whom was a rather pleasant soul, decided that I should be escorted to the toilets at the main bus depot. A lovable rogue who then worried we weren’t eating so starting offering us Guava and encouraged us to join him for dinner at the side of the highway. We were politely discharged from the bus on the main road, 2.5km away from Bodh Gaya. What should have been an easy 4hr trip turned in to 8.5hrs on the road, plus the 1hr15min seating around that morning. We’ve had worse journeys, don’t get me wrong. Certainly we’ve also had worse company than previous excursions. But, when you’ve not slept properly in days, been run down from tummy upsets and were expecting a quick, easy trip, those extra four hours are a killer. Thus, bags on, haggling mufflers on (i.e. Ignore the TukTuk drivers) and march to what the banners and signs describe as the most sacred place on Earth. Oh, but someone did spot some psychedelic trousers that we had to go back for after dinner. Found the guest house with comparatively little problems (folks, don’t trust maps for where they say the hotel should be, this has been our third sting). Ventured out to see the 80ft Buddha statue by night and found a restaurant that serves Momos – those Tibetan dumplings that we first discovered in McLeod Ganj. Hot showers and ready for a day of temples tomorrow.
Sunday 13th December 2015