Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Wednesday, 04 August 2010

Adventure in transit

What will I do for blog fodder the day I become 'normal' and get a car?

I was surprised and "Omg! How exciting!" pleased when I scored a seat on the bus this morning - right alongside the driver. It's reserved-for-old-fogies seating, but at 6am, they're not in transit anywhere. Turns out, that's where all the action is. There I was, minding my own business, watching street and car lights going by (I couldn't read, as the driver had the lights off) to the tune of some mellow Enya.

I got myself free entertainment. The bus had stopped. A lanky youth ran up and looked inside. It seemed that he decided it was the wrong bus. He walked along the curb and banged on the bus where the bus conductor sat. I figured it was just a 'greeting'. They often do that if they know the driver or conductor and it's usually followed by animated chatting and laughing. But... In a split second, the conductor and driver were both out of their seats and pounding down the road after the guy, brandishing 2 foot long, thick sticks. This was a true blue, "What the heck?!" moment. The chase carried itself across 6 lanes and ended as the guy rounded a corner.

The driver and conductor swaggered back to the bus with a "we got him good" attitude. Back on the bus, they talked and laughed between themselves after stowing their sticks. Unfortunately, they spoke in the incomprehensible North Eastern accent, so I remained clueless. One thing was sure, they were prepared. This was no random event.

I then switched over to the metro, which went calmer, though not without its own interest. We'd gone a couple of stops when everyone was ordered off the metro. I had my earphones in, so I missed the announcement. It seems to be my day for being clueless. We all crowded sheeplike into the next metro and went on our merry way.

I met my student who flapped a little at the 'dangers of public transport', only to be caught up by his own words when sirens bore down on us. There was a convoy of police cars and a van transporting criminals. The 'brownies' (that's what the traffic guys are called here due to their brown uniforms) shooed us out of the way. What on earth possessed them to think that transporting criminals through São Paulo's peak hour traffic was a good idea?? Apparently they 'avoid' traffic jams because of the risk of being blocked off deliberately (pre-organised), thus allowing the prisoners to escape.

   ~ ~ ~

Does anyone else also find their heart stopping when an ambulance passes by? I find myself hurting for the drama those people are facing.

What makes a pubescent kid go a few metres out of his way to kick a pigeon? Does it give him an otherwise missing sense of power?

I'm now off to bed. It was an exhausting day. Tomorrow will be even longer. I leave home at 6am and return at 6pm. In that time, I will take 7 buses in total and a metro. What adventures await, I wonder? My afternoon will end with 3 teen boys whom I've been warned will try to take advantage. Great. What an exciting prospect!


  1. Take advantage? Does that mean you might get lucky and Jurgis needs to check you're not wearing your lucky knickers when you go out?! lol
    Wow!! I'm glad non of my bus journeys have ever been that eventful!
    I'm used to ambulances. Today all the tourists were blocking their ears from the high pitched ambulance and police sirens but I guess I'm used to it now.
    I hope you have a good sleep and that tomorrow you'll be full of energy and happiness. :) Lekker slaap!

  2. PS : What was that show called (from the picture above?) It was always on Afrikaans and I hated it. It used to go on for ever. Give my Pumkin Patch or Bennie Bookwurm anyway! ;)

  3. That sounds truly exhausting. I can't possibly grasp what this must be like having never had a need for any public transport.

  4. I might have added that I feel pretty lucky to have my old truck after hearing what you go through. I'll not complain about it's lack of AC during my 25 min. commute to work now....a siren of any kind has the same effect on me too.

  5. Holy MOLY! What a crazy day! *whew* I'm glad you're busy, but I'm sorry you're busy. Y'know? :) I'm sad about the kid who went out of his way to kick a pigeon. Unfortunately I feel like the world is leaning more that way these days. I hope I'm wrong.

    I hope tomorrow is relatively uneventful, Tint, and that it's a beautiful day. :)

  6. *laughs I LOVE the craziness on public transport. (well, usually!) It's so funny to see people's reactions and the bizarre interactions. I swear, if you took that stuff out of context, docs would be trying to get us ALL on some form of medication :oP


  7. A busy day.

    (WHO would kick a pigeon?).

  8. And... WHY kick a pigeon? And, uh, why the heck didn't the pigeon fly away?

    Poor pigeon. Bert from Sesame Street would be disappointed.

  9. And... WHY kick a pigeon? And, uh, why the heck didn't the pigeon fly away?

    Poor pigeon. Bert from Sesame Street would be disappointed.

  10. Your stamina and good humour is admirable. Good luck with the teens.

  11. Poor birdy! :-(

    My weirdest bus moment happened in Port Elizabeth, of all places! It was 1989 and I was there with my mom, visiting family in hospital. We took the bus as we had no car. We didn't know the bus route and ended up at the main depot in town (kind of a walk from the statue of Queen Victoria, down by the shore/harbour) We were just stopped when two big armoured cars drove up and blocked the entrance. Then soldiers were EVERYWHERE. They made everyone get off the buses and they searched some of us. I think it was a bomb scare, but I'm not sure. They didn't say, but they were all very sweet and polite young men. It was still kind of adrenalin rush.

    I've never been in an ambulance as a patient, but I've travelled in one with my grandfather and driven behind one three times when they were taking family in to hospital. I have so much respect for the people who do those jobs. I never met a lousy ambuland person or paramedic. They're always fantastic people.

  12. Ah, you get for sure free entertainment! You are a brave lady, Tint!

  13. Chasing people with sticks? Here in the States it probably would have been chasing people with guns. Sad fact, unfortunately. I think that the language barrier would be so difficult for me, Tint. I don't know how you do it. Years and years ago, I was taken up with a Swedish man, to the point where we considered me moving to Sweden, of all things. Besides not being able to take Julian and the language, I balked.

    That and he turned out to be a Turd, that Swedish man. :) Life goes on!

  14. Wow...excitement. Not all the good kind. Did you ever find out why they chased the bus banger? The kid who kicked the pigeon may get "kicked" at home. I don't understand the desire to hurt an animal.

  15. The experience with the guy banging on the bus is spooky.

    I tell the kids we should silently pray for those who are in ambulances that pass, or are being air-lifted from our hospital to the city. I have to try not to cry, because great sadness could be befalling them.

    I don't know why some people have to be cruel to animals, there's no sense in it. It must be to make themselves feel better. I won't allow my kids to even step on ants or spiders just for fun. Creatures have a right to live, and be treated decently, unless it's a fly in my kitchen, a mouse in my cupboards, a raccoon killing my chickens, or a mosquito biting my arm.

    Here's a full blog opportunity: A Day in the Life of Me On the Bus. How did the boys behave?


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