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Bus from Manali to Amritsar

INDIA | Tuesday, 2 November 2010 | Views [2252] | Comments [1]

Well, that was a bus trip  - was expecting it to be long - I saw the old bus and thought this could be an interesting trip but that was ok. At the crazy bus station at Manali, there were a lot of really scungy-looking people, and a man told me they were Bengali beggars from Calcutta. As it happened some were coming on my bus, in fact they three quarters filled it, and were obviously drunk as there was a lot of yelling and arguing, mainly from the men, but the women were not exactly quiet either. One woman who was sitting behind me coughed her lungs up all the time, and the lovely Sikh man that the driver had moved from behind me to next to me (to protect me, I'm sure) said they smoke a lot of bedes. Sure enough, at a refreshment break, she was lighting up, and then in spasms of coughing again. This went on all through the journey, and at one point I could smell smoke on the bus, turned round and her friend was blowing clouds of smoke towards me. I gave her a piece of my mind, and told her to put it out, which she did, but I know they were smoking down the back as well, which the conductor chose to not notice.

Most of the villages and towns we passed through along the way as we wound up and down the mountains had such narrow streets there were traffic jams as people tried to get through.In one town, two cows were also walking in front, and how they didn't get hit was amazing, you could hardly put a hand between the buses when they were passing at 2kmph. Of course NOBODY hits a cow in India!

We stopped at Mandi at 8.30 for a longer break, but I did not eat. I was having a chai, and looking at the engine thinking, that is a very strong smell of oil, there could be a problem here, with these steep hills we are going through. But the driver and conductor did not attend to it, just tucked into their food. We wound our way up a very narrow, steep road, that was barely wide enough to pass another vehicle, with the usual evidence of landslides - but in some cases the whole hillside had come down, leaving almost an escarpment, straight up.

The bus had filled up with people standing at Mandi, it soon became apparent that they were were locals traveling home from work - most had to stand for a long time, only starting to get out after nearly an hour, not very pleasant for any of us crammed in, with the very winding road. An hour after we left Mandi, climbing all the time, the Sikh man said to me "I think sleep is coming now", and shut his eyes. I was looking up front, and said to him, don't be too sure about that. He said "what do you mean?" and I pointed at the clouds of steam inside the bus at the engine box (its internal). The driver had to find a part of the road in which to stop the bus so that vehicles could pass, so we went a couple of hundred metres and ground to a halt. Sure enough, the radiator hose had blown, and yes, guess what, no spare - of course!!. After lots of discussion between the driver and conductor, out came the mobile phone, and the Sikh man translated for me what was happening. They were going to get a spare sent on a bus that was coming by, should be here in an hour - oh well, not so bad, could be worse. It seemed that they didn't have any tools to get it off, though -surprise, surprise! They then disappeared somewhere and left us all sitting there. The scungy people got out and were drinking and smoking, which obviously meant peeing, so there was no way I was getting out. Not to mention all the coughing and spitting, which from the woman behind me was relentless, she must have had a real problem, because before she did that she would start moaning, and I felt sorry for her, as well as annoyed.

After and hour and a half, there was still no sign of a bus, and in that time only 3 or 4 vehicles had passed us, we were really in the middle of nowhere, nearly at the top of another hill. We ended up being there for Three Hours! Sikh man said they should have checked the motor at Mandi, and they should be sacked, but he said there is no accountability, so probably nothing would happen. So - finally it was all fixed, and off we went, driving around seemingly endless bends and hills for another 3 hours. We had missed our dinner stop, and at 3.30am pulled up at a little chai stand where I was really needing the toilet - but of course there wasn't one, so it was behind the bush I had to go, making sure there was nobody else around. Its so easy for the men in India - no problem, just whip it out wherever you are, in broad daylight or not - doesn't matter if the whole world is looking!

At 5.30 we pulled in to gas up and change driver and conductor - hope they phoned them to let them know we were more than 3 hours late! We finally arrived in Amritsar at 9.45, having had no chai or breakfast stop to make up the time. Not impressed Himachal Pradesh Government Bus Company!!!  Here is a thought - how about making it mandatory for buses to carry a spare wheel, radiator hose, fan belt at least.



Hi there
I been to Manali 2 years back I guess I loved that place very much at that time , i guess In August 2011 there was no snow at all but i could see snow covered mountain peaks.....that looked closer bt in reality were lying very far.Manali is a very beautiful place ....now this time , Month of May, I have again planned to enjoy the natural beauty this time i have planned form other places too like Solang Valley,Rohtang and many more I hope Journey will be fine and full of adventures...........Thanks

  Ajay Anand May 11, 2013 7:53 PM

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