Indian drivers follow road rules in the same way that a three year old follows the rule of colouring in between the lines. I felt better having arrived and seeing actual markings on the roads, only to have that peace of mind banished when our driver couldn’t decide which lane he wanted to be in, so often settled for the middle of both. He was great though, he indicated when necessary, although only when it was extremely necessary, otherwise he was happy to pass cars when he pleased, as did they. There was no knowing if you’d change lanes on top of someone else, there was barely any blind spot checks, but I guess that’s the fun of it.
The best part was when we came out from a toll collection point, and there was about 100m worth of road, both width and length, which had no markings and was literally a free-for-all. Drive wherever you want, however you want and hope that no one else wants to drive in the same spot. It became a little more segregated when the highway started again though, with proper markings and all, although markings that again, weren’t followed.
It was 2am and far busier than I imagined, we drove past constant honking cars and motorbikes, rickshaws and barking dogs. Dirt and rubbish piled up on the sides of the road; a dramatic shift from the grass and nicely cut trees that had surrounded the highway we were previously on. The hotel stop was next and we pulled over, still a little close to the middle of the road but good enough – apparently if you want to stop in this country the road rules are malleable, you stop wherever you want and force the rest to avoid you, honking as they go by of course. We were greeted by a man offering for us to buy cigarettes and surprisingly, cream buns, an odd combination with a seller who couldn’t quite take no for an answer, so lingered next to us patiently waiting and hoping for us to change our mind. Unfortunately for him we didn’t, as we moved on inside and were a little impressed when the hotel staff brought our big suitcases inside for us, thinking the hotel must be quite a nice one if it has such good customer service. Sadly, it wasn’t quite what we hoped for. But it was fine, I mean, I didn’t need a sink that wasn’t falling off its base, and I didn’t need the hole in the wall revealing a pipe to be plastered up, it was safe enough. I also loved their creativity in that on the one curtain, the two separate sides were completely different fabrics.
We weren’t in luxury that’s for sure, but we got what we paid for, $40 a night doesn’t reward us with much and I’m sure it’ll be good preparation for what’s to come.