The Sleeper Bus From Hell

on Thursday, 4 March 2010

We have a ticket for our sleeper bus which is supposed to leave at 8pm and have been asked to meet at the tour office at 7:30pm. We have to be out of the room at 5pm so go and sit in a hotel bar and have a drink while we wait. We decide to move on and have a quick something to eat. Again the closest place we can find is another pure veg restaurant and it dawns on us that every single restaurant we have seen has been vegetarian apart from KFC. While in the restaurant we are sitting next to a funny little man with a weird hat and we exchange pleasantries. We turn up at the tour office but there is a problem with the police letting the bus park in the city centre, so we have to get a Tuk Tuk outside the main centre with someone from the tour office. We get to a tour company offices called Paulos, which we now realise is the main tour company for the country, the man hands over the ticket and prints out a new one. The ticket now says 1500R for the both of us, we were pretty sure we had been ripped off, but it wasn’t as much as we had thought. Good thing is the mistakes don’t cost much. Unfortunately our ticket says we are now leaving at 9pm, so have another hour to wait. While we are waiting the funny little man from the veg restaurant turns up in a Tuk Tuk, with three massive pieces of luggage with him. We start chatting and it turns out he is Ukrainian and two of the massive suitcases are just souvenirs. He has been travelling in India for 3 months and seems to know what he is doing. He has paid the proper price for the bus of 650R for a seat on the coach, only 100R (£1.50) less. The bus turns up and we get on and  make our way down the bus, which I can only describe as horrendous. We are shown to our bunk which is a 6’ x 3’ bunk, smaller than a standard single bed and we both have to sleep on it. Tom is just about ok but 2” makes a difference and I have to lie with my legs up in the air. The photos are taken at the end of the journey when some passengers had left and we had one bunk each.

I am absolutely dreading it as I have always been really travel sick on coach trips before and the bus does not have a toilet! We are told by some Indian travellers that it doesn’t stop either! The bus doesn’t even leave till about 9:45pm and then the air con starts up and our nozzles don’t work.  Lesson 1 of travelling on a sleeper bus, take a jumper onboard. We try and sleep but it is not very easy and probably only manage a half hour here and there. At about midnight the bus stops and we realise there are toilet stops about every 2 hours. I jump off the bus and can’t be bothered to put my shoes on and end up walking over in just my socks, what an idiot. I’ll let you imagine the state of Indian public toilet floors, but I can’t be bothered to go back and get my shoes and doubt I have time. We arrive in Goa about 11am, but are the last stop and don’t arrive until 12am. So the 11 hours had turned in to 15 hours. We have no idea where to go and end up getting a taxi to Anjuna beach on the recommendation of the Ukrainian fellow and against the recommendation of the taxi driver. We share a cab and are initially asked for 500R for the three of us, but the Ukrainian man barters him down to 375R for us all.

We have arrived in Anjuna beach and I look after all the bags while Tom and the Ukrainian bloke go and look for somewhere to stay, we are initially told we won’t get anything for less than 500R this close to the beach, but they manage to find a place a little more substantial than a shed for 200R (£3) a night each. Now we are going to try an internet cafe, so hopefully you can read this shortly and also have a look around the area to see whether we will stay or move on tomorrow.