3/31/10: Bariloche, Argentina
But really: anytime: anywhere
We stand nervously on the corner, counting down the minutes. Kevin stares off into the distance at nothing in particular, probably thinking about chili dogs or LeBron James. I look down at the ground, making small circles in the dusty road with my toe.
We are waiting for the bus. A local bus. (Dun dun dun!)
Will they understand what we’re trying to say? Can we take the 51 instead of the 22? Do we have enough change? How will we know when to get off? Why couldn’t there be a subway instead? Subways are easy!
Several buses have already gone by, none of them being the one we want. We have already been waiting for 15 minutes and I am feeling very anxious. “Can we just take 51 instead?” I ask Kevin. “That one already came by three times! I don’t think ours is coming…” Kevin shakes hand no, and we keep waiting. Eventually, we finally see our bus pulling up and we stick out our hands eagerly to flag it down. The bus pulls over in a cloud of dust, rolling past me a mere two inches in front of my nose. I hurriedly step back. The bus has stopped – 15 feet in front of us. We run to the door, coughing from the fumes. We hop onto the bus, and I hold on tightly to the front handrail as the bus jerks forward before we have time to catch our balance.
“[Insert bus stop here],” Kevin says. The bus driver nods and states the price. “What did he say?” Kevin asks me. I shrug. Kevin asks the driver to repeat the fare, hands over what he hopes is the appropriate amount of money and gets his change back. We do a quick survey of the bus and see that there are no seats available. We stand in the aisle and Kevin holds on to the tall handrail above our heads. I try a few different positions: hands-free (bad idea, as the bus lurches forward and I fall into Kevin), holding onto Kevin (only works on shorter rides), the tall handrail (uncomfortable for a shorty like me) and end up with the old standby: holding onto the back of someone else’s seat, hoping that I don’t accidentally pull on their hair.
We duck our heads down periodically and peer anxiously out of the windows, trying to figure out how far we have to go. “I think the guy said it should be about a 15-minute ride,” I whisper to Kevin. He nods his head, intently trying to match up our paper map with the street markers so we can recognize where to get off. Occasionally people push the red STOP button, and the bus stops at the next stop to let them off. I take these opportunities to look outside and try to get a general sense of where we are. A few minutes later, Kevin thinks we’re close to our stop, and we both turn on our “high alert” mindsets. We look closely at every building and street marker, and when we decide that we’re nearly there, I push the STOP button. The bus goes on for a disturbingly long time – the duration of which I am silently panicking in my head and hoping fervently that it will stop soon – as I watch what seems like hundreds of buildings and trees whiz by and we go further and further from our stop! And just at the moment when my silent panicking is about to turn into vocal panicking in the form of hysterical cries of “Stop the bus!” the bus finally stops and we get off with a sigh of relief.
We are a ten-minute walk from our actual stop, so we have to backtrack to get to it, but it doesn’t matter! We did it. We successfully navigated yet another local bus ride.
Picture of the Day: I made this lovely zucchini/eggplant pasta sauce, but Kevin didn’t want eggplant! He ate his pasta plain.