Back in Mandrem now and feeling so happy to be home. Funny how Mandrem has come to feel like a home from home over these last five months or so.
The Russian gang and I arrived back in Mapusa at about 9am this morning, having left Hospet at 6.30pm last night. It was a heck of a night’s trip, particularly given that we were doing it in a non-AC (Air Conditioned) bus. Unlike the other AC buses I’ve been on, there was no door separating the driver’s compartment from the rest of the bus. So all night long there was a wind gusting through the length of the bus, accompanied by the noise of the outside traffic and the chattering of the driver and the rest of the crew. Natalia and I were in the first berth behind the driver, so we got the full brunt of this. Luckily we were fairly well equipped, so the night passed pretty quickly, even if the snoozing was at best uneven.
So, here are my top 5 bring-alongs to make any night-bus trip more comfortable (and bearable!):
1. Ear-plugs (of course!), Eye-mask (often all the interior lights don’t get shut off) & an inflatable travel pillow
2. A sheet – lighter to pack than a blanket and effective at keeping you cosy when the temperatures drop at about 3am
3. Socks, a long-sleeved top and/or a pashmina – along with the sheet, these will keep you cosy. Especially appreciated on the AC buses!
4. An i-pod or even better, an i-pad – reading is near-impossible with the bus hurtling along at break-neck speed, so having some good tunes or an audiobook or a movie to watch is a god-send
5. A torch – handy in so many situations in India with power-cuts being so common, but indispensable on a bus journey when trying to locate the loos at the road-side pit-stop in the middle of the night
Anyone else out there got some more tips for surviving the night buses of India? Let me know!