Sunday, 28 October 2012

Don't Panic Mr Mannering


Hampi back to Goa and first 3 hours in Goa

The journey from Hampi to Goa was taken on an air-conditioned sleeper coach. The 350km took 10 hours overnight. Fast huh? The coach consisted of little compartments with each one having two single beds. These run down either side of the bus on two levels. You climb in pull the curtains and arrive the next morning having had your own space, privacy and air conditioning. Like communism, in theory, this should work. In many ways it does but there are other aspects that don’t…

Indian roads, even at 35km per hour, can be challenging to any suspension. In villages it is even more so. Consequently the gentle drone of the tires on the road one might expect to lull you off to sleep in England are replaced by swaying, jolting, beeping and rapid breaking. Having said that the “beds” were comfortable.

It would have been nice if the airline style ac jets were more controllable in terms of “on” and “off”. Having said that it was nice and cold.

The compartments are strictly meant for two people to share but most compartments also played host to small cockroaches. Having said that they kept themselves to themselves and just scurried across the window or along a ledge so as long as Rachel slept on the aisle side I too could sleep.

The driver was pretty good, was not drunk and had a co-pilot for safety. 80% of users were European and generally are so it would have been good to have hired someone who could tell you what was going on and address any queries.

You didn’t have to worry about missing your stop on the coach because unlike on the train the co-pilot would walk up and down the coach shouting the name of the town. Having said that it would have been nicer if he had just woke up the appropriate compartment since our births, names and destinations were all on his list. Instead we all got woken up at 11pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm and 7pm from our already jolting, hotty/coldy, bug infesteddy sleep.

Best of all however was the toilet arrangements for all. There were none really and after two hours our bladders were bursting so I had to bully the driver to stop so Rachel and I could have a piss. Me at the back of the bus and Rachel squatting down half way along as a stream of other travellers realising a stop had occurred streamed out to pee in other places. No dignity for anyone and although Rachel was one of the first to start she was one of the last to finish. God knows where she stores all that moisture..

Arrived about 7.00am, got bags, back packs bodies and bits and jumped into a cab. A White 1950’s/60’s Ambassador with the moulded ceiling and virtually no suspension. Old fellah driving was calm and drove like death actually meant something. Said he had had a bypass op and only worked a couple of hours a day. He dropped us at the hotel I gave him the asking price because he hadn’t made either of us shit ourselves during the 20km journey.

We inspect the room, unpack a bit, Rachel had a shower, I lay on the bed picking my nose or whatever, when she was done I looked in the bath room and realised I could actually have a shave, a shit and shower at the same time (wet room styled bathroom). I told Rachel to get the camera…. “Oh No!”, she cried from the other room “I’ve left the camera in the cab”. This is our new camera we bought to take fabulous photos of our trip with all our images, spare batteries, case and memory cards. (Luckily we have been up loading to the computers and dropbox regularly so at least most of the images were not lost)

We get dressed run out to the street, hail a cab and get “Bappa” who drives like a loony back the 20km to Panjim to see if the white ambassador is there. It isn’t, he gets out and asks about if anyone knows the cabbie in question. He has a house about another 15km away in a little village. They don’t know the address or the mobile so we head off there. Again Bappa asks around and are told that he has a place nearby but he has not been there a couple of days and are told that he lives mainly in another house 10km away. We go there. He is not there. His sister, who is there, says he is still working and is then going to the other house. She gives Bappa the number and he calls and pretends (his idea) to want to see the old car for a wedding and can he meet him to look at it (Bappa says this because if he hasn’t had any fares and the camera is on the back seat then if we say we left the camera he could just say no and keep it). Anyway we head over to the other house again. This is all 2 hours or so after we left it. The old fellah opens the door and Bappa speaks to him, looks at the car and sees the camera is not there so tells him the real reason and bugger me he has the bloody camera. Apparently he had two fares after us and the second set of passengers gave him the camera he finished work and had had a shower and unbeknown to us had called the hotel to say he had it. We were gob smacked at how fortunate we had been. To have had two other taxi passengers, a honest old cabbie and a tenacious Bappu to hunt him down. We thank them profusely give both a reward and come home to the hotel to have a much needed breakfast and ponder the ‘Honest injuns’.


  1. You are meeting some wonderful people, how honest of the old guy, bet that wouldn't happen in good old blighty! I bet all those taxi fares have eaten into your budget, you tight arse, I mean that in a complimentary way of course!!!!!

  2. As I said tub of shit and roses every time...... Decent geezer.