Sri Lanka and the Bus of Doom

Horns are blowing. Hot, humid air. Loud Indian music is playing in the background. A woman spits out of the window. We inhale exhausts from the traffic. Pollution and waste is everywhere. It seems there are no rules to obey and everyone is his own life architect…

We are on our way from Kandy to Habarana and our butts hurt already after 10 minutes of sitting in the bus. We still have another 3 hours to go… Luxury travel is something different but backpacking was our choice that we should not regret.

Getting around with the public transport is in general very cheap in Sri Lanka… and very risky. Apparently, Bus drivers love formula 1 and it seems they compete for the best track record. A local told us that sometimes drivers compete for picking up most of the passengers to earn some extra cash. Every time the bus accelerates the engine is screaming like a fighter jet and we are wondering if kerosine is the petrol of choice. After standing for an hour in a crowded bus and using all our body to balance out the centrifugal force we feel like having done a proper work out in the gym.

Our tip for surviving is to sit (if possible) somewhere in the middle and not trying to follow the traffic. Just having said, the bus is getting seriously into troubles, we are suddenly turning from one side of the road to the other and back again. Tires are squeeking and it is smelling of burned rubber. We are almost hitting a parked bus after a sharp curve and only thanks to our skilled formula 1 bus driver we are still alive. The driver is laughing and no one is complaining, it seems that people truly believe in  buddhist reincarnation and are not afraid of crashing. We almost sh** our pants while the race continues. We have another 45 min to go and we send a couple of prayers to heaven…

Driving bus in Sri Lanka is all about picking the right driver and is similar to playing Russian roulette. Yet, we are alive and the adventure continues… but first we take a shower and wash off our dirt (and fear).

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