Our First Indian Intercity Bus

Carefree and sleepy in the afternoon sun, we made our way to the 2:15pm bus from Pushkar and realized that we would assuredly miss our 2:25pm train from Ajmer, which is about thirty minutes away.  When we got to Ajmer, we went directly to the city bus station. With only a little confusion, mainly due to our own second guessing, we found the ticket booth for our bus and purchased tickets. The bus departing for Jodhpur left twenty minutes later. Just before we squeezed into the back seats of a thirty seater bus. The tiny luggage racks wouldn’t have dreamt of holding our oversized backpacks; Chantal managed to shove hers (mostly) under her seat while I hugged mine for the entire journey. The bus stopped at five or six towns and villages along the way and we met a few friendly locals.

Many locals stared at us, but nothing compared with the awkward interaction we had with an old Rajasthani man. For the first half of the trip, this friendly stranger stared anxiously and began shoving and arguing with other passengers so as to move closer to us. As the crowed thinned the gentleman made his way to the seat next to Chantal; of course at this point there were many free seats, including the two directly beside him. At the next stop, Chantal and I swapped seats and the man returned to his.  Even with the extra room, he maintained constant bodily contact with me at all times and each time I directed my attention towards anything in the left side of my view, he excitedly threw his head from side to side trying to see what I was engaged in. The man continually insisted that I share his water even though I had my own. Regardless of our lack of personal space, the gentleman was harmless, kind and very excited to see foreigners on his bus and we appreciated the interaction. The bus was certainly packed for the first half of the trip, but as it emptied its contents across state, we arrived in Jodhpur about half full. At a cost of 175 Rupees per ticket ($3.50CAD), the 208km journey took us an unexpected 5.5 hours and will forever be a memorable one!

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