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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bus Rides from Hell

03 May, 2015

Don't be fooled by the label "luxury bus" while traveling in a third world country. The only difference between this and the local bus is maybe a few miles an hour, slower mind you, as the local busses are completely out of control the entire time. Brandon and I have gotten the opportunity to try both the local and the luxury and unless you're feeling gutsy, I recommend paying the few extra dollars for the "luxury."

It takes a special kind of tourist to brave one particular bus route in the Himalayas, unless of course you don't know what your getting yourself into in the first place. Fingers crossed you make it out alive.

Arriving at the local bus station you are surrounded by a mass amount of other locals traveling all over the country. Some trying to make it back home to their village, while others are leaving their family in hopes of selling their trade.

As you board the bus with a false sense of security you briefly enjoy the views the Himalayas have to offer until the bus makes a sharp turn towards the valley and you begin driving along side of a shear cliff. Unfortunately, at this point there is no turning back. I sit patiently in my seat as the bus starts going faster and faster - slashing around curves, tearing over potholes, and ripping the dirt road apart. Onward the bus drives as it passes cars, but the terror has just begun. One by one our bus overtakes buses and trucks, stopping at nothing in its path.

I watch out the front window as we pass a truck. Up the mountain we go, not picking up speed as we steadily approach another bus head on. "We're not gonna make it," I think to myself. The bus's horn ferociously honking. It's like a game a chicken, only the game is not in your hands. All eyes are frozen on the front window anxiously awaiting their destiny. With only a moment to spare the truck beside us slams on the breaks and we swerve back to our side and continue our journey as if nothing happened.

We continue violently around the narrow, windy road with no guard rail for hundreds of miles, and I watch the valley below that is nearly three miles straight down. One mistake from the driver and the bus could plummet thousands of feet down the mountain. I say a prayer to myself and squeeze Brandon's hand. All the while he is leaning against the window throwing up in tiny pink plastic bag that was dispersed to all passengers before take off. I try to comfort him but am cut short by the seat in front of me becoming fully reclined in my lap. Another "luxury" of these buses is the seats recline- all the way. I am now nearly immobile, bounding up and down in my seat, Brandon puking next to me, just waiting to off the damn bus.

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