Micah: Unmitigated

|

Not just another weblog

On The Bus Mall

May 4th, 2010 at 16:02

After a long 24 hrs of transit, I finally made it to the beach. The day was full of mildly interesting events and I did some things that made me feel good inside.  People may say I was almost Christ like, though I wouldn’t say that.

It started with a language barrier induced misstep. After consulting with the touristica informacion, I believed that the buses to Santa Marta left at a semi regular basis beginning in the AM. The lady said ¨Ocho, Nueve, Diez, ... ¨, thus I aimed for the 9am departure. The taxi driver to the terminal was a little skeptical and walked in with me, helping me discover that they don’t leave until noche (night). He drove me down to the other station so that I may at least get started going north to the next town (Buca), 2 hours away.

I made a poor seat choice for this trip, which has become very common for me. Being a tourist, I feel that I should take the least desirable seats, especially with most of the other passengers being from the older generation. Choosing the back left seat presented a few problem: They are raised up about 18 inches and when the riders in front reclined, my leg room was nada. To look out the windows, I have to wrench my head down to my knees. But the biggest regret was missing the views, out the right side, of the Rio Chicamocha canyon.  The glimpses that I did catch were stunning.

While we were passing the crevase via some curvy roads, a little girl next to me sitting on her mother’s lap, began to feel ill. Luckily she was able to acquire a plastic bag in time to for la niña to let it fly. I offered her some of my unopened water, but she graciously declined.

Upon my arrival to the Buca bus station @ 11:30am, my fears were correct when I was told that the Santa Marta bus didn’t leave until 9:30pm. It was a nice enough terminal, with outdoor seating and plenty of empanadas.

Buca bus station

Buca bus station

Random people sometimes sat near me and tried to have some type of conversation. I always smiled and tried to find a time to jump in and tell them¨No entiendo, no hablo español.¨ A young boy who wandered over seemed confused by the fact that I didn’t speak Spanish, and after a few moments of silence, sweetly waved and said ¨Ciao¨.

doodling in my notebook

doodling in my notebook

The most interesting locals, were a husband and wife who strolled over after it got dark. They seemed from the Caribbean area, with darker skin and creol accents. The lady attempted to teach me some things, by talking slowly and not giving up until I gave the correct response. I later impressed her by saying ¨No tengo tiempo¨when she asked me for the time.  The phrase was one I had memorized and felt appropriate though it was a lie, because I had just checked my clock.  My suspicions that they were homeless were confirmed when she saw me in the terminal and told me they weren’t heading anywhere. I bought her a beverage and let her walk down another stall or 2 to get someone to buy her food. As she successfully strolled back with fried stuff in hand, I received a victorious fist bump and a smile.

The 11 hour bus ride was slighly eventful as well. With my back left seat secured, I realized that I was going to be on unofficial el bano patrol. The door was tuff to open and close, which provided me with some enjoyment and concerns. I would hear a lady struggling with the door, open my eyes, and then reach over and give it a tug. But my job was not finished, they still have to get out. Most found the strength but I still kept my ears alert for the sound of knocking or the cry for help. It was a difficult job, you have to be sure that they are ready to come out and that you are not just hearing road noise. A premature door opening would be devastating. The fearful ones would not even close the door all the way, causing it to fling open at all minor bumps. Luckily, I had no view in and just giggled everytime. I helped one old lady and listened for her exit call, with my eyes closed. I never heard it and feared that she may be trapped in there the rest of the trip. Maybe too shy or weak to knock loud enough, she would wait for a rescue from the next user.  I was relived to realize she had made it out without me knowing and tried to get some shuteye.

I arrived into Santa Marta at about 9am and plan to spend 2 nights here before heading north to the better beaches but more touristy town of Toganga.  I may have to rethink my bus seating strategy for future trips, but hate to think of the fun I may miss. No sé qué decir

E = 16

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “On The Bus Mall”

  1. H4 Says:

    That is some mighty excellent doodling… your penmanship is impeccable. Sounds like all is well thus far. Take Care.

  2. Miriam Hoelter Says:

    What a trip! You will never forget that 24 hours. Glad you made it.