My mum sent this email from the side of the road in India. Her and a work colleague are trying to get from Bangalore to Bijapur for business meetings. They had been told they would have to go by road as there were no flights to Bijapur. They knew it would be an adventure but....Well here's mum's email:
You wouldn't believe what we are going through right now and where [work colleague] and I have spent the last 6 hours, fast becoming 7 hours.
We are sitting on the side of the road in the interior of Karnataka by some roadside eating house. Not the flashest but they are keeping us fed. We have been sitting outside ( too smelly and smokey inside) and the mozzies are in full swing and frogs are jumping round our feet.
So why are we here you are asking? We set out from Bangers [Bangalore] at 7:30 am ready for our 12 hour drive to Bijapur. By 11:30 we became aware that our driver's eyes were closing so we asked him to stop and wash his face with water. Got going again but eyes still struggling as we watched him closely in the mirror. So we told him to pull into the next tea house and he could sleep in the car while we had some food. After an hour he got out of the car, washed his face again and we said he should eat something. He went inside and we waited again for him to finish. After about 30 mins I went to see why he was taking so long and found him asleep at the table. By this time we did not want to risk being in the car with him anymore so [work colleague] rang back to Bangers and got her contact to send another driver. So we got all our bags out and sent sleepy driver on his way back to Bangers. Have no idea if he made it back or not.
After many phone calls to organise the Bangers side and then the destination people, of course [work colleague]'s battery ran out. But there was no electricity here but we were told that the "political tomb" next door had power. But to no avail. The only room that would open did not have a power socket! But after sun set the lights came on so then they kindly took the plug out of the fridge and [work colleague] could then charge her phone! So now we are back in phone contact and the tea house owner can now talk to the new driver as we are getting nervous that he will speed by and miss us.
So once he arrives there will be another 7 hours (maybe 8) hours of travel. The things we do for [insert compnay]!
And what have we been doing to entertain ourselves? Made friends with the local villagers as news has spread that we are "hanging out". Buffalos, goats, dogs and puppies...all have been photographed from every angle. All modes of transport have been photographed. And as the phone is now charging inside as the driver gets closer the owner keeps calling out, "Madam, madam" excitedley each time the phone rings!
[Work colleague] got out her red lap top to do her accounts at the table outside to the enjoyment of the local crowd gathering. As the equipment kept coming out of our bags, our audience increasingly grew in the marvel of the BB, iphone, mobile, laptop, mosquito spray, hand sanitizer, wet ones, magasines, books, camera to say nothing of our colour co-ordinated Fab India bags and luggage! Lots of language faux pas that could take up more space but suffice it to say we made good frinds with our Jain vegetarian tea house owner.
Attacking the toilet situation yet another challenge! But being able to eat, drink Chai and go to the loo means we have survived this part. Now we wait with anticipation the condition of our new driver, expecting him any minute! It is now 7pm. 11 hours since leaving Bangers, only 8 more to go!
On the way now finally. Taking the longer route as the shorter route has pot holes and we will get stuck if it rains. This means a 3 am arrival. And finally our hotel instructions received as follows:
Shashinag Quality International Hotel, Bijapur - Solapur by pass Bijapur it is on the left side of the highway........we are in the hands of god now (and this is a true story)
TEXT UPDATE: She texted this morning to say they were still 5 hours away from their final destination. As it's after midnight there, they were searching for a place to sleep. They found a "nice" hotel. "Phew!" she texted. But she said the final joke of the whole day was this: When checking into the hotel, they were asked what time their flight to Bijapur was. "WHAT?? THERE ARE FLIGHTS TO BIJAPUR??" "Of course Madam.".....She ended the text with, "We will scrag the travel agent tomorrow!"