Up at 3:45am, into the tuk tuk in the dark for a 30 minute ride to the junction. An intersection in the middle of nowhere. Left in the dark with my backpack to wait for a the bus. After playing catch with 20 or so buses, to find out whether it was my bus or not I found it. With a german girl also lost in the dark, we made our way on the bus. What an adventure. (BTW: that’s just local transport above not the bus).
A 12 hour ride, so I knew it was going to be long. But thought it would have air con. It had windows. The bus was fill when I got on so my seat was in the back row in the middle (for the bad kids I guess). The funny thing is that they also fill the isles with little plastic moveable seats. So I had to climb over about 10 people in the middle seats to get to my seat. I had a mum and her 3 kids on one side and a man and his 2 kids on the other side. Plus all their luggage where our feet goes. We were only travelling less than 100-150 kms and it would take us 6 hours for the first half. Mostly around the hills.
At the back you get every bump and bounce, all the smells. Think of the red roller coaster (Ceylon) at the new Universal Studios in Singapore, and stretch that ride out from 50 seconds to 12 hours. And everyone is allowed to take food and multi-coloured drinks on the rollercoaster. You can definitely get to much of a good thing.
You also get to see everyone’s rubbish whiz past the window as they through it out or throw up. Speaking of throwing up, I am good with vehicle movement but the kids weren’t. The smallest one vomited 4 or 5 times, the other 3 kids a couple of times. Felt sorry for the mum.
Funniest thing is that I thought we were full, but they just kept packing them in. I also thought I was in the back row, but there were two boards just behind my head. They took one of the boards away and we then had a new backrow. So another 7 people perched behind me with their backs to the window. After the first stop I managed to get a window seat in the back row, and spent 10 more hours mentally saying… “my butt is not sore, my knees do not ache in this position, that is not someone toes wiggling under my bum, he is not going to turn his head 360 degrees and vomit on me like in Exorcist”. You know the normal things that go through your head on a bus trip.
8 hours in, all was under control. The kids had stopped vomiting, I had a little bit more leg room and I only had 4 hours left.
ETA -1 hr: Close miss on a very messy crash. The roads are a little bit bigger than 1 lane. So you need to pull to the side and overtake half on the road and half in the dust. Another local bus tried to over take us on the left. My side. They always beep their horns when passing. The driver of the other bus was just up to my window passing when he lost control of his front left wheel. I saw the panic on his face and he start veering straight for my corner of the bus. I had nowhere to go but watch and wait. He swung the wheel the other way and missed me by inches, then nearly jack-knifed his bus. He managed to control it, but I remember his face of panic less than a foot away on the other side of the window. I was very pedestrian about it. There really was nothing I could do, but let whatever happened happen.
The scenery on the drive was nothing spectacular. Very dry in the later stages very similar to the desert. A little like the Sinai Peninsula.
Decided I need some air con and a pool so checked into a nice 4 star in the middle of the Bagan temple zone.