June 16, 2007

Day 126 :: Bad - Worse - Disaster

Day 126 - Delhi

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The journey from Kathmandu to Delhi takes only 120 minutes by air. Almost all travelers take this option, because the alternative involves a taxi, bus, rickshaw, jeep and train, and it takes over forty hours. However, in our [probably foolish] zeal to see the world from the ground, we chose the long option. Just a few hours after I wrote a post about feeling safe in Nepal, we started our journey towards the best place on earth to be a cow. You'll never believe what happened.

The ten hour bus ride to the Indian border started at 7pm on a barely working local bus. Over the first 120 minutes (the same amount of time it takes to get to Delhi by air), we managed three miles. What they don't tell you when you book your ticket is that, when the bus isn't full, it drives in circles in the Kathmandu traffic picking up extra people. By the time we finally left Kathmandu, the exhaust from the stop-and-go traffic left both of us coughing and desperately trying to hold down our dinner.

And then it happened.

A rock hit the back of our bus, breaking the back window. Our teenage bus driver hits the breaks and four other teenagers jump out of the bus and chase down a couple of guys - who they start beating relentlessly. And then, as Kari and I watch helplessly from the two front seats, the crew bring the culprits and the fight onto the bus. It was an all out, face punching, drop kicking brawl, in which I took several accidental blows. One of the culprits even went after the driver, who was speeding around huge mountains curves, putting the entire bus in serious danger. Finally, after a few minutes, we pulled over at a checkpoint where we sat for an hour while some army officials interrogated all parties involved. By 11 pm we had only traveled twenty miles. I asked Kari if this night could get any worse. It did.


Within a few hours of the fight, and in the middle of the night, we hit a mountain traffic jam. We groaned as the driver turned off the bus and went to sleep. And then we sat, for over an hour, until finally the bus began inching forward. After another thirty minutes we saw and then carefully drove over the problem. A huge mudslide had bulldozed over the road. This time, Kari looked at me and asked if the night could get any worse. I confidently told her that there was nothing worse that could happen to us. Wrong again.

The rain started slowly but steadily built up to a downpour that wouldn't seem to stop. It was after Kari had finally fell asleep that the rain started coming into the bus. A leak in the window had broken wide open and rain started pouring into our seats, drenching Kari and our backpacks that sat on our laps. And so, for the next eleven hours (yes, the trip ended up taking 17 hours instead of 10) we sat in the wet, re-thinking our commitment to land travel.

It was a night that we'll never forget and one that we hope to never experience again. Twenty-seven hours after we got off that bus, we arrived in Delhi where it's 112 degrees. Things are looking better.


Matt said...

wow...I never experienced anything quite like that I don't think! I can't wait to hear what you guys think of Delhi (are you staying in Pahargang area?)

Dennis Jackson said...

Josh & Kari,

Next time take the rickshaw all the way - same time-table but better travel - much drier!

Should have taken the flight with the chickens and the food on your tray tables left over from previous flights!

Dehli at 112 - you must be passed the Monsoon - sounds like it is cooling off!

Love you - Mom & Dad

Joe said...

this adventure is like... in a movie! glad that u guys got to Delhi eventually, safe and sound regardless, hope the rain didn't damage any of your chocolates, heh :-D

Joe said...

btw, i'm flying to HaNoi in august, have some commitment there first, but after that, i am so tempted to do what you guys are doing! vagabonding! =)

joe, aka "theoc208"

Ash said...

omg, that is hilarious and yet scary as all get out. i would love to see josh jackson in a fight:)

Josh&EmStokes said...

I too would love to see Josh Jackson get in a fight. Gotta love the bus!! How long till you guys call it quit on land travel? :)

Josh said...

Oh, you don't want to see me in a fight. I'd try to be like Brad Pitt in Snatch but end up fighting like "squints" from the Sandlot.

Christin said...

Holy Cow! ;-)

Darrell Shepherd said...

Josh and Kari,

enough already about your adventures in places that don't even speek good english like us.All i want to know is what are you going to get me?

Marsha and I are thinking about the whole worm farm again. Can you pick me up some of them chinese worms? I reckon their eyes are different than english worms. I am think they will see things entirely different than indiana worms and maybe they will catch two fish instead of one. Twice the profit for me. Ihave heard the chinese only like boys so I assume this carries over to worms as well. I don't care, shoot fire, bring all the girls worms you can haul in your overnight bag. Dump your tooth brush out and you can store about 25 more worms. No need to respond, I'll be looking forward to them worms.

Darrell Shepherd said...

No really, I should leave you with a deeply spiritual thought........................................................................... sorry, can't think of any. Darrell

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