Returning home - Part I

Apr 04, 2008 in

Part I: Travelling after my pants
Part II: In deep shit
Part III: 100 hours

During Holi, I was on a bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara I jumped on pretty spontaneously. Suddenly I remembered that I forgot my change of clothes in the laundry (in Kathmandu!)- the spark fell when my clothes got all wet and colorful by waterbombs with colored water which have been thrown into the bus by kids. During my stay in Pokhara I thought about and calculated if it is worth it to take an eight hours detour back to Kathmandu to fetch my pants or not. However, because I was pretty low on money back then and I calculated about four days transit to return to Delhi airport anyway, I decided that another half a day wouldn’t matter too much. I know, it sounds a bit ridiculous and telling you that it was not only my pants but also some underwear and a shirt doesn’t make it sound less stupid… let’s just say… principles – you can justify a lot with principles ;)
But before I left, another problem called for my attention: I heard by chance, that the registration office in Chandigarh should have given me a registration slip and the info that I need to deregister before I leave… Of course they didn’t. However, I was told that I need to sort this out before I am at the airport because otherwise they won’t let me get on my flight. Argh. Assholes. Since I didn’t get any telephone connection in Nepal, I decided that I will have to do this in transit.

So much for the introduction. During my return home, I wrote some kind of log. My flight was on the 28th, early in the morning. Things in these brackets […] are comments I added later. So here it goes:

Travelling after my pants

25.03 06:00 — 73 hours to go
Gotta catch the bus to Kathmandu to travel after my pants. I see that I am getting ill… not good, still got 73 hours to go. I travelled on the roof of the bus with an American student and a Portuguese dentist. The bus conductor gave us weed to smoke (just because) [an Indian would never do that!] and we had a great time and view otherwise.

25.03 21:00 — 58 hours to go
Nearly missed the only(?!) bus to Sunauli [town near the border] after I had lunch, played a game of Tiger & Goat and fetched my laundry (of course). The stress of getting me to the bus stand in time gave me the rest… I am sick… and still 58 hours to go. Dirt and mosquitoes are making everything itch like hell. My eyes feel sore and my head hurts. It’s cold and uncomfortable in the bus… not getting any sleep.

26.03 07:00 — 48 hours to go
Reached the border, changed money, got immigration stamps. Now for the taxi to Gorakhpur [train station from where I wisely pre-booked the train to Delhi]….
A kinda feel like a travel-zombie now, not being really there but somehow managing to get on…

26.03 12:00 — 43 hours to go
Fuck! Gorakhpur is a shithole, so fucked up place, I don’t believe it. Tired like hell but it’s too filthy that I can sleep here. My train leaves in 5 hours. But at the same time, I kinda missed India already, despite the utter ugliness. It’s good to have back some things I got used to:
1. Cheap working internet and mobile connectivity
2. M.R.P prices [max. retail prices – fixed prices for all shop items in all shops, no bargaining]
3. Cheap(er) transportation
4. The certainty that the people here are really not to trust and are downright greedy and egoistic [I was referring here to the taxi driver who got me into Gorakhpur. He managed to stuff 12 people in and onto his jeep from the border, collecting 100 Rupees from each person which is the normal price if there are four people in the car]

26.03 18:00 — 37 hours to go
The train didn’t arrive yet. Half an hour late so far. I found an empty dormitory restroom inside the train station which was tidier than all hotels around and had even a shower. Just took a short nap and had a shower, later paid a bit bakshish for that :)
The bad part: Since I got connection again, I called the FRO [foreigners registration office] Chandigarh (plus FRO Delhi Airport) a lot. They all told me that it is not possible, they have enough work to do etc. and that I need to turn up there at least 3 days before departure, personally [my flight was on the 28th early morning]. They didn’t really care that it was their fault in the first place. After over half an hour phoning around, he agreed to have the exit permit ready by tomorrow and that he will give it to me when I arrive in Chandigarh. I nearly had a nervous breakdown though – now perhaps everything will be alright if I reach Chandigarh IN TIME! (less than four hours late in total!) Still panicky…
Almost forgot that I was supposed to be ill. I guess the virus has to wait until I got rid of the government bureaucracy.

Read part II: In deep shit