Well we'd decided to visit the remote Andaman Islands. But to get there we first had to trek East, through Tamil Nadu to Chennai to catch a flight. We'd certainly not considered Chennai as somewhere to hang out. Formerly Madras, it is India's fourth largest city and does not share the good rep of the Southern States.
Yet here we were on an overnight bus, something else we swore we'd never do with the kids, on our way through the Eastern state towards the city of Pondicherry.
The bus was ‘interesting’. We certainly knew we'd left the friendly states when at around 2am we awoke to the sickening sounds of a fight. Peeping out, I could see three or four of the passengers throwing punches at the driver! Great. Thankfully we were stopped at the time and thankfully Jess and Otto slept through the whole thing. The beds on the bus would have been quite comfy had it not been necessary to constantly cling on to avoid falling 5 feet to the aisle below. I'm not sure which of Mikes and I got the worst deal. Mikey got the unusual experience of sharing his double bed with a complete stranger and I had the discomfortable experience of sharing my double bed with two under fives. A long, overnight bus journey with no onboard toilet took it's toll and my double bed was decidedly damp!
To top it all off we spent three hours stuck down a narrow street which we'd detoured into. No matter how many times we reversed and ploughed forward again, no matter how many houses we smashed into, no matter how many power lines we pulled down, we still couldn't get free…
When we finally disembarked in Pondicherry, (7 hours late) we still had a five hour train journey before we'd reach Chennai. So we treated ourselves to a night in a boutique hotel with swimming pool, some lovely food and a cold beer. One bonus to the crazier eastern side. You can drink beer!!
And give credit where it's due, Pondicherry was lovely, the quiet tree lined streets and the cooling sea breeze at dusk promenading along the front was tonic for the soul.
Night bus in India? Never again.
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Kelly and Mikey (but mostly Kelly). We sold up in the UK to travel with our two littluns for a year or so. If you want to know more click the about us!