Get Rid Of Me winners Katie and Evan have just completed their 18-day Highway to the Himalayas tour, taking in Northern India and Nepal. Anyone who’s been there knows that getting around is quite different from getting around in any other country. Read about Katie’s experiences on the blog, and make sure you check the Get Rid Of Me Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter feed for more updates. They’re off to Russia next!
I don’t think I will be getting my driver’s license for India anytime soon! I’m not sure if I could pass the test. I think my reaction time might be a little slow for the hectic roads there! We learnt that in order to obtain a drivers license you need to graduate from high school or have a few dollars saved up to convince the police officer that he didn’t catch you driving without a license. I would be surprised if people in the country side even obtained licenses in the first place.
While we were driving along the freeway from Jaipur to Agra, our guide pointed out an illegal 100% Indian made vehicle that they used to build but have now banned. I don’t know much about cars but this vehicle did look homemade! It looked like it was put together with a bunch of old spare parts and the seat was a piece of wood!
Surprisingly, we didn’t see a single car accident and we didn’t bump up to anything. However, it was normal to be driving along and suddenly have to come to a halt because someone would dash in front of the bus to switch lanes or something would join into traffic without even looking. But it is honestly amazing how the pieces of their traffic puzzle fall into place. In the bigger cities it was neat to see cows wandering absolutely everywhere! They really seemed out of place to us but blended in quite nicely at the same time. Cows would cross the road when they felt like and would lie down in the middle of the roads. Cows are highly respected animals in India and everyone seems to share them for milk and take responsibility to feed them. One day while we were driving along the highway I noticed that a cow had been hit pretty hard by something and the cow’s leg was missing. There were two men wrapping up the leg and giving the cow water. It was very obvious the cow was not going to make it but the two men seemed pretty determined to take care of it until it died. Other than that the cows wandering in the cities didn’t seemed to be bothered by the honking or the driving. Speaking of the honking: in Canada we bust out the horn if someone has cut you off or doesn’t go when the light goes green, but in India you honk for everything! At first there didn’t seem to be any order to the honking but then we started to realize there was a purpose to each honk. For example when you are going to pass someone you honk a couple of times to let them know you are coming up beside them.
Driving on the highway was nice because it wasn’t as chaotic and would have its fair
share of animal surprises! On one occasion the highway was held up because the two lanes had to go down to one lane because a huge heard of cattle were taking up the other lane and the shoulder lane. Another time the same thing happened because there were hundreds of camels walking down and crossing the road.
I really enjoy sitting on a bus and driving although I have a problem of falling asleep every time the bus gets going. I usually stay awake long enough to hear what the guide has to say about where we are going but if the ride is longer than ten minutes I start to nod off. This is actually a real problem with me because I get sleepy really quick even if I am driving! I am actually a little nervous about driving after six months of being chauffeured around the world. The longest I have ever gone without driving was a month and a half and that didn’t go well. I was actually hanging out with Evan before we were dating and he needed a ride home at the end of the night and we got into my car and I said “Excuse my driving, I haven’t driven for a while”. And just as I said that I crashed into a light post backing out of the drive way! In my defence it was night time and raining! Let’s hope I don’t do that again.
- Katie Powell