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Bangalore India
Trip without a grip
Oct 07, 2008 05:36 PM 3377 Views
(Updated Oct 24, 2008 02:47 PM)

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INTRODUCTION: 24 of us(includes 23 people aged 50+ & me 20+) decided to go for a North India pilgrimage tour & somebody from the group suggested Vandemataram Travels.


The profile of the travels looked ok & the owner, Mr Nagaraja Adiga gave a colorful description of how beautiful the tour is going to be arranged & they have experience of taking people aged 95+ too! Well listening to him, all of us felt the tour's going to be the best one of everyone's life but travels had a different story for us. In this blog, I'll briefly give a hint of what travels had in store for us.!


THE BUS:


What was promised/expected - A super-deluxe bus with push back seats, good leg-space, comfortable to everyone


What we got - A good bus with push backs NOT working, no leg-space, fans NOT working, improper ventilation, no space for water bottles & more than any of these, tourists had to sit in the last seat also! All the travels arrange in such a way that there are no tourists sit in the last row, irrespective of the quality of the roads. Our tour was through Uttaranchal, UP & Bihar.traveling through some of the worst roads in India & tourists had trouble sitting in the last row where they were thrown high from the seats quite often! 2 out of 5 last row seats were for tourists & other 3 for Cooks.


Though we had rotation of seats, its quite difficult for anybody to be in the last seat even for a single day journey in the entire tour.


THE MANAGER:


What was promised/expected - A friendly person who'll understand & take care of the needs of the tourists such that every tourist feel they are being treated royally all the time.


What we got - A silent passive guy, who hardly speaks to any of the tourists! Being brother of the owner, Mr Raghavendra Adiga who can be aptly called CABIN manager did nothing other than




  • sitting in the Bus Cabin during journey




  • ordering(Not requesting!) few folks about timings for lunch, dinner - All others have to speak to each other to know whats next. Something more about him.




  • He'll arrange for guides ONLY if you ask for it, otherwise SAVE MONEY!




  • He'll get down at the tourist spot without a single instruction to tourists & sit in a shade. Tourists had to figure out themselves about where to go, where are the restrooms, etc.




  • He'll distribute Hotel keys to some people & don't even keep a track of who's in which room. Mostly all couples had issue figuring out which's their room! Most of the time it happened even that number of rooms were less & Hotel owner used to inform him. Absolutely mismanaging when it comes to hotel rooms.




  • He won't even care who gets the luggage down from top of the bus, won't even call hotel boys to get the luggage to their rooms unless you ASK for it. In short, unless you ask he won't do anything that's part of his job!




  • During really long journeys(in which case you'll be in the bus throughout the day & night) its manager's duty to stop the bus every few hours for attending nature calls or even just to stretch your legs. But our tour manager never cared for any of these even when requested.




  • If there are just oldies & luggages, then they would be in big trouble as the tour manager won't even suggest any way to take care of luggage movement at most of the places. So you gotta be physically well-built & energetic to lift your luggage irrespective of weather & health conditions.




  • Unfortunately we had an accident on our way back & bus had to be taken to a nearest police station. Tour manager was least bothered to inform tourists on what is being planned, what's going to be made to get back on the tour.






Hungry Tourists had to wait & enquire repeatedly before dinner was served. Being in dark for some time in front of police station, most of them decided to get a nap in the bus as "WHAT NEXT" still remain undecided. Asking the driver & conductor, we got to know that a new bus is being called for & it might arrive late in the night. Only after that people slept properly.


Even long time after that there's NO word from the tour manager to any of the tourist! I guess with all these, anyone can picturize the tour manager & the quality of the manager provided by Vande Mataram Travels. We had been in Nirmala, Vikram & Vivek travels before & the manager was quite opposite to Vande Mataram Travels manager. They used to be one among the tourists, very friendly speaking to everyone, comforting everyone in case of any difficulty or mishap. But Vande Mataram provided just a hopeless one & tourists had to manage themselves for the tour all the time.


COOKING & FOOD:


What was promised/expected - Good south Indian food & Coffee/Tea/Milk service during journeys & to hotel rooms during stay.


What we got - Food was really good most of the time. Few drawbacks being rice not fully boiled & too much oily dishes. But these happened occasionally & thus can be ignored. But when it came to serving coffee/tea/milk to rooms, there's mismanagement again! When we dropped at Haridwar the second time, cooks had reached before us & were ready with coffee/tea/milk which's good. But because of hotel key mismanagement by out manager, when people are struggling to get the keys & get into their rooms on their own with several bags & baggages in hand if cook comes serving coffee/tea/milk anybody would feel like giving one on their face! Yes thats what all of us felt like doing! * Worst part is they won't provide Coffee/tea/milk if you are traveling in the bus.


SAVING Money Again! So tourists should take care & plan for their own snacks/tea between 2 meals during the journey. Humiliating part is manager'll stop for coffee/tea just for his own cabinmates in some Dhaba & don't even convey a message to tourists that they too can bus some drink! He'll simply get down without a word & you need to think if they've time & money to serve themselves a coffee. DRIVER/CONDUCTOR: What was expected/promised & what we got: Coolest people among the tour team. Luggage handling(putting over bus top), cleaning the bus everyday & driving the best possible way even on the worst roads. All in all I won't recommend anyone to get into this travels even if the travels owner says "we've improved on all these". because even we listened to it before the tour & I can assure you Tour Owner & Manager are the best liars & not to be trusted at all!


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