On my our second day in India, we decided that we would give local transportation a go, we had managed to catch the airport bus here, so we could catch a bus from Fort Cochin to Alleppey, which is only two hours away…simples!
We picked up our backpacks, and headed for the local stand to wait for the 3 o’clock bus – however, this is India, and they run on Indian time. Indian time basically means anytime at all, it could be late by 10 minutes, it could be late by 10 hours, it could not turn up at all, and in a very unlikely event it could be early. In this case, it didn’t turn up at all.
We stood at that bus stop in the rain, carrying heavy backpacks for an hour or so. We asked every single bus driver, pedestrian, rickshaw driver and child in the area what the hell was going on and every single one of them had a different story.
“The bus is green”
“The bus is blue”
“The bus will be ten minutes”
“The bus stop is around the corner”
“This is the bus….haha….nah I’m only joking”
“The bus does not exist”
It turns out that getting a bus in India is not so simples after all! At around the 30 minute mark, I gave up completely, I threw my bag into a puddle, put my head in my hands, sat on the bag and almost wept. I had spent a year backpacking, I had managed SE Asia almost trouble free, I had convinced people to feed me in exchange for tat from my rucksack, I had lived in a freaking bus with twelve other people for god’s sake….but this, this had beaten me, trying to get a bus in India was a near on impossible task and it had won. I would sit in that puddle all night so that I didn’t have to keep asking people where the bus was.
Thankfully I was not alone; my friend persisted where I had failed. She had found a bus (sort of) she picked me up of the ground, well… she yelled at me until I got up, and led me to a rusty tin can on wheels filled with wooden park benches, which in India is described as a mode of transportation. Whatever… I was happy, it was going to take me to Alleppey – well actually, it was going to take me to some place, to switch tin can that would take me to the middle of nowhere, to switch again, and then eventually I would find the bus to Alleppey. I don’t honestly know what was happening, it was one big blur, and all I know is thank god that I was not on my own.