Hello again everyone
OK so there we were, our bus pulled alongside this bedlamic Indian Road. People, Buses ,Lorries, donkeys, cows ,tuk-tuks,rickshaws you name it they were there. Rafeeq and I looked at each other his words were, 'ok partner lets go .....' We asked the group just to stay in their seats for a couple of mins whilst we came up with an instant plan, Rafeeq advised he would do the logistics. This was sense as he had all the numbers and my Hindi comprises of 2 words neither of which would have got us very far !!!, and I was to take care of the group. I address the group and explained that Rafeeq was calling Delhi, as we weren't sure if it was a quick fix..we had broken down right ouside a roadside repair workshop which was lucky. This workshop compised of a lot of canvas stretched over wooden poles with a lot of engine parts spreadout on the groud and a couple of upsidedown Tuk-tuks, and tractors. There seemed to be a lot of grease and hammering involved. Meanwhile Suman and Irshard were busy trying to establish what had happened.
All the group were enjoying this temporary delay ...people watching and enjoying the interaction of the local folk, who, I dearsay are still talking about the day the bus of tourists came to stop !!! Rafeeq had arranged for alternative transport ..it was now past 1700 and we had to get the group to Agra..the sun would be going down and it would be getting dark very soon. It was arranged for 3 vehicles 1 x for all our luggage ..1 x 12 seater and 1 x 6 but they were in Agra the opposite direction and would be 2hrs in the now rush hour traffic.
I organised the water and made sure that the cold stocks were distributed asap, I sprayed the bus with Mossi repellent and encouraged the group to stretch their legs. The environment outside wasnt hostile we were of much fascination with the beautiful children who by know had finished school and word had spread about the stranded tourists...not to mention the 15 or so Indian Motor repair guy's who with much head wobbling,loud voices and gesticulation were trying to repair our bus. Suman stayed with me and we kept an eye on the group, this wasnt hard work as most members were experienced Explore travellers and were thoroughly enjoying the goings on. We had local indian cardamon chai offered by the locals in clay cups the children queued to have their picture taken in raptures that we could show them what they looked like on the digital screens.
The cars arrived we all stood in a line and in a chain emptied the back of the bus and loaded the luggage vehicle (teamwork), at around 1945 all the vehicles were with us, I organised the groups I took the 12 seater the 6 were going to follow us and Rafeeq went with the luggage. Jaded, but still with humour we all finally made our way to Agra. We arrived at 2200. Rafeeq had already organised the meal for tonight. The group had 10 mins to wash their hands whilst I sorted the check in and gave them their keys, we were all very tired but jubilant that we had made it and the drama all seemed to have become another part of our experience...making it to the restaurant we drank beer and discussed the events ..knowing that we would be getting wake up calls for 0500 the following day to get to the Taj. Beer has never tasted so good.
The question was would our bus ever get to Agra.. would we ever see the forever smiling Suman and our excellent driver Irshad again ?? TBC
All the best Christine