Getting a bus on a National Strike day!

My boyfriend and I were backpacking on a round the world trip, our first destination was India ,we were travelling in the South and were in a town called Alappuzha, a fairly large town which was extremely busy, it was just a few days before new year so as you can imagine people were out shopping in preparation. On arriving we were offered a room at a hotel in town but after looking at the room it was pretty unsavoury, we tried other places but they were all booked up, so we took the "deluxe room" we were initially offered, although there was nothing deluxe about it, it was small with no windows and the pipe running into the toilet leaked everywhere, every time you flushed the toilet!

We ventured out into the hustle and bustle of the town, a little on the scarred side as it was so hectic! We'd been speaking to the receptionist who told us we'd need to buy some food for the next day as there was to be a national strike day, the whole state of Kerala was to shut down. Well this was going to cause some problems as we needed to get to the next town, a good few hours away but he said there might be some buses running. We bought a few bits of food for the next day and had some samosas, to eat as we were a little hungry, we headed back to our luxury room and watched some TV. After an hour or so of eating I was feeling a little ill, I was then sick and had a bad case of the runs, this kept me up most of the night and I didn't feel much better by the morning!

We decided to check out the next day, hoping to get a bus to the next town, so we waited at the bus station, we asked people if there were buses going to Cochin getting a different answer from each person, nobody knew what time the buses were going or even if they were going, I still felt sick and the heat and dust did not help I hugged my bag and wished for a bus!

The next thing that happened, a bus was proceeding up the road and was bombarded with stones by a group of rowdy protestors, angry that the drivers were working on a national strike day. The windows were smashed, police cars came flying in, people were arrested this was not a good day to get a bus. After about five hours of waiting, the protestors had been dispersed and buses were running again, so we got a bus with a police escort and eventually reached Cochin with no taxis or rickshaws running in Cochin , we walked to the nearest hotel which turned out to be a four star hotel, with room service a working toilet and a fantastic view, just what we needed!

C Godden

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