By Adam Capelin
We just arrived in Varanasi, India. Whoa – There’s nothing like India to make you appreciate home. I-N-D-I-A I’ll Never Do It Again! Our border crossing from Nepal was the worst nightmare possible.
– A brief run down of events –
7:00am – We left Kathmandu for the Sunali Border crossing into India. A 9hr bus trip on the back seat – an extra bumpy ride on the Nepali mountain roads.
12:30pm – Ate Lunch in Nepal at a lunch stop – Butter Chicken (with tofu instead of chicken – whatever). This is where things went bad.
1:00pm to 4:00pm – I felt unbelievably queasy after lunch on the way to Sunali, the back seat didn’t help either.
4:23pm – We walked across the border through Sunali, a dusty scab of a place. Nothing looks official. The Indian visa processing desk was a dusty bench in front of a derelict concrete building. Surrounded by similar looking dusty market stalls. A fat tobacco chewing Indian tossed our Passports back across the table to us and grunted.
4:30pm – Changed our money from Nepalese Rupees to Indian Rupees and reproduced my lunch in spectacular fashion at the back of the shop squatter toilet. There was a kid screaming in an adjacent shower cubicle. He screamed hard – I spewed harder! It was a duet.
5:00pm – We climbed on a local but to go to Gorakhpur only to discover that leg room is severely compromised to accommodate more passengers and maximise fares. Keira is starting to feel sick too.
5:04pm – Climbed off the bus and asked for our bags back off the roof. No response. Asked nicely in my best French to screw the bus fare, just give us our f$%ken bags back! Nothing – just smug smiles from about 6 bastard Indians.
5:05pm – The bus starts to pull away and we were forced to re-board the bus to avoid losing our bags altogether.
6:20pm ish – After about an hour or so with Keira’s head out the back of the bus window vomiting, and me stuck in a sweat sandwich between 3 Indians the bus blew a flat tyre. We climbed off and I calmly went for another chunder off the road. Keira looked like I felt. “We have to get off this bus.” I told the bus tout we were getting off and he just kinda nodded and looked away. I said if I get back on the bus I’ll give an intimate introduction of the contents of what was left in my stomach to anyone near me. And then I just climbed up onto the top of the bus and threw our bags off. We walked over to a little kitchen in front of a mud-hut in the middle of bum-f#$k no where and just sat down.
6:29pm – The bus left with a Dutch girl waving at us. Keira was being sick again behind a tree.
6:36pm – No one spoke English in the small crowd around us, so I stated hailing the few cars that were passing.
By about 6:40pm – (Almost dark) We managed to flag a small truck. Keira jumped in the front and I jumped in the back with our bags and about 9 other Indians who were already hitching a ride.
7:00pm – We arrived at a small town and climbed into a Jeep Taxi. Keira is sick again in the gutter. This is crazy! I thought we’d be the only ones in the Jeep after pleading our case to get to Gorakhpur hospital, but they piled another 11 or 12 people + us + the driver into a 5 person vehicle! I’d popped an anti-spasmodic and was keeping it down, but Keira was suffering. The following drive was just a daze and us willing it to be over.
8:15pm ish – We were dropped off at Gorakhpur hospital after being charged a ridiculous fee (But arguing about money was the least of my worries.) Just remember that this is a hospital in Northern back water India.
8:30pm – Keira had a surprisingly fast consultation with a doctor while I chased her around with two full size travel bags and two small day packs. No one offered to help carry the bags. I didn’t trust anyone with the bags and I couldn’t lock up the bags. There was this moment of uncertainty when Keira was being led away and I had just told her I wouldn’t leave her side and I’d make sure no crazy 3rd world medical malpractice would happen. So I just picked up all the bags and charged after her calling her name until I found the room she was in. (Don’t forget I was still feeling the same food poisoning as Keira but I’d managed to keep an anti-spasmodic down). After I dumped the bags with Keira I was led to a pharmaceutical bank to purchase medicines. She was given an anti-nausea injection and a saline drip with antibiotics. She crashed on a dirty hospital bed on one side of the room. I crashed on a black vinyl bench opposite her in this grotty little room. The last thing I did was coat our exposed skin in insect repellent. The window was open and the mosquitoes were brutal.
About 3:00pm the following day – we were finally discharged after filling out a hospital staff performance survey in Hindi. I just ticked the boxes blindly! The hospital staff wanted to do an ultra-sound scan but we weren’t keen.
4:00pm – Stuffed and exhausted we found a clean hotel near the train station for our early train departure in a 2AC cabin for Varanasi the next day. We ate Maggi Noodles for dinner and drank coke and sprite.