Adventures on the Bus

BlogHer Original Post

I've rarely been drawn to take the bus as an option - as much as I like road trips, I prefer to be on my own schedule, especially - let's face it - for those bathroom breaks. There's something film noir about Grayhound in the US - though I understand that in some places on the planet, the bus can be the deluxe option for getting from point A to point B. In other places, it's how chickens, their owners, big bags of rice, the belongings of a family of eight, and that family get from point A to point B. Often, it's the only choice - it's how we got from Monteverde back to San Jose in Costa Rica and most of our southeast Asia travels were by bus.

When we were kids, my brothers and I would sometimes take local transit to my dad's house when it was his weekend. This brought us to strange new malls where we'd wait, listless and hungry, waiting for our transfer route to appear. We had plenty of time and even though it was dead slow, there was always enough for us to look at - we were never bored. It was always an adventure.

We traveled about 100 feet before getting stuck again, so we all filed back off the bus. Again came the smoky fires, which we pathetically huddled around. After a good hour we obediently got back on the bus and took our seats. This time we didn't go far at all, and from what I could understand there was now a mechanical problem. Off the bus. Huddle around fire.--Gadling

Grabbing and loading other people's stuff is a part of the unwritten Fijian bus-travel etiquette and we were involved in the ritual a few times, as well. Just grab the stuff people hand to you through the window and give it to someone behind you who will stow it away.) Since Ryan and I sat in the back of the bus, we were eventually completely boxed in into our seats by loads of bags, rolled up mattresses and bunches of kava root.--Infinite View

We were again traveling through stunning scenery, this time in the high plains of the Andes headed up towards the high point of our journey, when we felt the bus lurch, slow down and begin to spew white smoke everywhere.--Exploring the Marble

All I can really remember is, after several long, excruciating days of riding the bus, we pulled up to a crossroads somewhere in Kansas. Now, when I say crossroads, that is exactly what I mean. There was nothing there but farmland as far as the eye could see in any direction, and a bench with a lean to over it... aka... the bus stop... where two roads happen to cross each other at a perfect 90 degrees. The thought that reverberated through my mind was, "Oh Lord, PLEASE do NOT let this bus breakdown here. It'll be WEEKS before anyone finds us.--Aspergantus

Once in Laos, we repeated the following drill every hour or so: bus gets stuck the mud, bus driver shouts something we can’t understand, we scramble out of the listing bus and push it barefoot through the mud occasionally reconstructing the road using large rocks and bamboo.--Pirate Industry

A small but raucous army of passengers seemed to hijack the bus at once. Their boarding was accompanied by barking in frantic tones and a fast-paced tongue. It was dark and we had been waiting at this underpass for almost an hour; something didn’t feel right. Thanks to the opportunistic bus driver, our private (i.e., not government-run) bus had morphed from a vaguely organized summer camp for locals into a frenzied squatter camp on wheels.--Uncornered Market

Image from 4ocima on Flickr.

Pam blogs about travel and other adventures on Nerd's Eye View.

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