Wednesday 24th October 2007
So when morning came it was time for my Irish friend to tell the others of his impending departure from the bus, he would rejoin us in Varanasi a few days later or in Nepal if he felt he needed more time. His brother was determined to go with him but the company of a fellow blonde OzBuser and a trip to Goa for a beach holiday resulted in his brother staying and us being two members down as we head out, lets just hope they come back as after what is about to happen we may need the numbers!
The rest of us, a little down from this morning’s events already boarded the bus and were informed that a decision had been made about our route. The friendship highway to Tibet has been deemed un-passable and we will no longer be visiting Tibet, China, or Laos, instead we will be leaving Nepal and heading back into India. We will travel down to Kalcutta and then board a flight to Bangkok. This is a real shame, the extra flight makes the whole driving to Sydney thing a little less impressive but it cannot be helped I suppose. We had all know about this possible alternative route from the start but many did not take it well and there is much talk of leaving the bus in Kathmandu and pursuing there own route for a while before trying to rejoin the group later on.
Do not get me wrong here, I am not too happy about this either, my longstanding Welsh housemate just got back from travelling and raved about Laos so I am gutted I am missing it but this does not mean I plan to leave the trip. Flying half across India for a beach holiday I also consider to be a little excessive. If I fancy a beach break we have 3 nights in Bangkok followed by three nights in Koh Samui, I have been to Bangkok before so could easily skip it out and have a week on the beach in Koh Samui but this is not really the point I am trying to make. If I had wanted a smooth easy trip I would have signed up for OzBus 7 or 8 when all the kinks were out, if I had really wanted a smooth trip I could have flown first class all the way for what this costs. We are the first OzBus and the media enjoys printing stories about us whinging on in regard to the food and the driving time, they have it wrong. We all have our bad days when it gets to us but we also all knew we were planning to drive from London to Sydney in 12 weeks, a pretty spectacular achievement but it only takes one paper to print a stupid story and the whole group is tarred with the same brush.
This Saturday will mark the half way point of the trip and we have now spent 6 weeks together on a bus, we are a closer group than we could ever have imagined and I truly hope that we all pull in to Sydney together at the end of this pioneering trip.
Woah, I got a bit carried away there, sorry, back to the trip. Today our diminished and grumpy group is heading to Agra, the home of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. We arrived early afternoon, paid the foreigners 750 rupee entry charge (20 rupees for locals) and headed in to see this amazing building. It is truly an awe inspiring moment when you see it for the first time and I am proud to say that I have now seen this iconic building first hand. We retuned from our walk around the Taj to find we were staying locally and that it was time to check in.
The hotel was nice, the staff very friendly and the hotel restaurant very good. One OzBuser who does really consider her bag to be her problem caused a bit of an issue and nearly left it behind reception, where a fellow OzBuser had put it for safe keeping, the next morning but the less said about her and her bag the better, I am out of rants for today. After dinner it was time for quick beer on the hotel terrace then an early night.