Friday, November 30, 2007

A new game

In reality, I don't think that deciphering the bus system ever will become a fun game for me. It demands too much reading of maps, too much planning, and too much guessing whether the bus driver actually does know where he/she is going. But I've got to admit that there is a challenge I like on the bus, and that is the challenge of staying on my feet. It reminds me of a virtual reality ride. You know, those rides they have in the California section of Six Flags, where the seats move around violently to simulate a dangerous ride, and you view the world zooming by, and all your near-collisions, on a huge, concaved screen. Riding the bus is just like that, only In this case, it's real life. And I don't usually get to sit down.

Todnight, everyone was trying to get to the city center at the same time I was--the roads were flooded with hurried drivers, vying for the one lane in the roundabouts and nuzzling their way into new lanes at every turn. Somehow, even though the bus was filled to capacity in both sitting and standing space, the driver stopped when I through up my arm to flag him down. I ran on, paid, and the bus lurched forward, sending me towards the front window. Thus began the journey of lurches and near accidents that so entertained me tonight. At one point, we came within about a foot of hitting another bus. It feels like riding an animal. It makes all the noises--squealing as it slows, roaring as it speeds up, grunting in between. I remember once when I was riding a horse through some trails, the horse tried to scrape me off by cantering towards a tree with a low branch across the trail. I had to cling to its back in order to keep from hitting the branch. Today, it seemed the bus driver had the same sort of mentality, trying to send me through the front window with sudden stop after sudden stop. But I was not alone. About thirty of us stood in the aisle, holding onto the overhead railing. The Guadalajarans seemed a bit more steady on their feet than I was. I couldn't help but laugh at myself---every little move seemed to send me swinging from the railing, feet sliding all over the ground, remaining stable only by my tight grip above...oh the sport of bus riding.