Monday, April 8, 2013

The truth about long haul buses

It's so much cheaper and it only takes a little bit longer, this is going to be great, taking the bus is a great idea.


Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Buses operate with their own special kind of Murphy's law. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and then some. Forget about sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the view. You will be driven to tears by someone you have never met and will never see again in your life, you will arrive in your destination feeling haggard and drawn, wishing you had just stayed home in bed curled up in the foetal position with a good book. It sounds more enjoyable then what you are about to put yourself through; if you decide to solider on through what will  be an obvious travesty, here are some simple rules, guidelines to prepare yourself for what you are about to embark on.

  1. You will NEVER be comfortable. You've brought an inflatable neck pillow, you have worn layers to prepared for whatever temperature the bus decides to be, Ipod is charge, book at the ready. NO. This bus runs by it's own rules, the temperature will be scorching followed be an Arctic breeze that will blow through the bus every 20 minutes for the next eight hours. You WILL hit every pot hole possible, even when there isn't any, the driver will swerve off the road just to make it that little bit more uncomfortable.
  2. There will be a douche in front of you, next to you and behind you. Any combination or all three at once. They will kick your chair at random intervals and often just as you have started to drift off to sleep, they will breath to loudly and even worse than that when you can feel them breathing on the back of your neck.
  3. There will never be enough bathroom breaks. I won't drink any liquid in the hours leading up to the bus ride, nothing is worse than needing to use the loo on a long bus ride. But it's like your bladder knows you have settled in for the long run and decides this will be the perfect punishment for all the late night drinking sessions. You use the bathroom each time the bus stops but back on the bus and an hour in, you need to go again and looking around at all the sleeping passengers you know that it will be a while before you get your chance.
  4. You won't time your snack eating well, and finish them way too early into the trip. You think you have enough to sustain yourself through out the trip, wrong. You're bored, so once you start you won't stop eating – leaving you hungry for the remaining hours of your trip.
  5. You will encounter the jerks of public transport – they are on all and any forms of public transport: noisy cell phone douche, crying kids with parents who don't do anything, the sweaty slob, the smelly person, the general crazy who only wants to talk to you, and the drunk who will be on the verge of puking for the entire trip. Don't look for them, just know they are there, waiting for that seat next to you to become vacant so they can come and regale you with stories you don't care about. 
  6. You will touch something gross: be it gum, a used tissue or just general filth. It's there and you will put your hand in it.
  7. The seat you choose will be broken in some way. You spy a seat in the yonder, it looks too good to be true, no children around, plenty of leg room. But it won't be until your at least 15 minutes into the journey, that you realise it's broken: it won't recline, the tray table has snapped off, the cushion is wet with an unknown liquid, somehow it's not properly attached to the ground and you will go flying at every corner. (trust me, it's happened to me)
  8. The traffic will only ever be bad if you are in a rush. This one is just a given.
  9. You will never be prepared when it is your stop and everyone will look at yo like you are holding up the trip. You've known for the entire journey that your bus will arrive at the station at approximately 0700, you packed your belongings ready to go at 0650, but still when you pull into the station you are the last one off, struggling to put your jacket on and your luggage off without falling down the incredibly narrow stair case.
  10. The music will be some sort of fusion between Chinese opera, hardcore drum and bass and Justin Beiber. It will be too loud, you can't drown it out and if you do manage to fall asleep you will here it in your dreams and wake up in a panic thinking all of your worst nightmares have come true.

NB: Buses with WIFI are fantastic.  

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