AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Downstairs at 6am to meet the porter and eat breakfast. Considering that breakfast isn’t supposed to start till 7am and we had been told it would be a minimal breakfast it was good, scrambled egg, toast and jam, bacon and fried potatoes, washed down with black coffee. By 6:30am we we ready to leave the hotel. Our porter, Sumesh, had gone out and arranged a taxi while we were eating and bartered the price down for us. A handy guy! At the bus station the voucher we had had to be swapped to tickets for the bus, this was achieved effortlessly. We stood out the way and Sumesh took care of it. I’m starting to like this. Some Israeli travellers weren’t having as much luck, the ticket office had rejected their bus voucher and wouldn’t convert it into tickets for the bus. Sumesh rang the ticket company then sorted out with the ticket office to get their tickets. He also sorted their seats on the bus. Very nice of him, he didn’t have to do any of that. The bus was old but not totally dilapidated. The seats were OK and the windows had glass in. That and a working engine was good enough. We set off into the hills on a single track road. It was full of lorries and trucks and we had to stop every 30 seconds to get the two vehicles to pass, usually with only inches to spare. Even when we were moving it wasn’t at speed, probably 25kph was the fastest we went. There are many small villages hanging on to the edge of the steep valley walls and the bus kept stopping to pick up more people. There was source for about 50 people sitting and I think we had about another 20 on the roof and probably about 20 standing in the aisle. It was extremely crowded and tightly packed and the people in the middle was usually lean on the seat or hang over my seat so I’d have either sometimes arse crushing me or their arm knocking my head at every corner or bump. Personal space was an unknown concept. Then the strangest thing, this women decided to stand next to me then put her head on the top of the seat in front of me and lean over. With her body basically leaning on me and her face almost in mine she then attempted to sleep. I was crushed. She also coughed often so I probably have some horrible disease. I couldn’t get her to move, she didn’t respond to pushing, shouting or shuffling. In fact any space...

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