Experiences in Minibuses
We leapt in to action this morning, making sandwiches and juice for our day out. We had a coffee until it was time to board one of the marina launches taking us to Bruno’s Marina a few minutes down river (nearer town) where we would meet up with the others for our trip to the waterfalls and canyon.
Wash day before and after the enormous bridge (built by the Canadians) that we had sailed under just the other day.
Dorothy and Duncan (Hunda) – hugged last night at the trivia quiz, Larry and Marlo (Beatrice) and Brian were there to welcome us with hugs all round since we had last seen them in Trinidad. Great to be going on a day out with a gang of familiar faces. Thank you Dorothy for organising us. We all bimbled from Bruno’s and a few minutes later were on the High Street heading for the bus stop.
The first bus we saw had a few seats but being a group of seven we turned it down despite reassurances from the driver that he could fit us in. The next bus we were first on board. We all paid 15 Quetzals, one pound thirty for the three quarters of an hour journey to the waterfalls. Bruce, an American who had sold everything and bought a thirty three footer, proclaiming he would never return to the States, was currently volunteering at the orphanage and was taking a well earned ‘day off’ – became our unofficial guide. He pointed out things as we went along.
Transport here comes in all shapes and sizes.
Our second bus from the waterfalls to the canyon (thirty pence) had an interesting windscreen.
What you can’t get in – put on top, we were to remember this later.
When we had finished at the canyon, it was time to wait at the bus stop, we weren’t short of company.
We turned down this bus, yet again we had assurances that we could all fit in. It looked very low slung.
The next bus looked like it had three seats. Immediately the locals shuffled about, quite patiently and smilingly to accommodate us. The back row originally had a young lady (now to Duncan’s right) and a lady with her two small children (to Dorothy’s left). Dorothy put her foot down as the driver was actually going to put one of the children in the trunk, the mother was all smiles and very grateful at this. So the back row had four adults and two children. My row in front of them had me, my left leg pressing hard against the speaker to stop the blinding Salsa music. Bear later admitted it was probably his fault as the driver caught him tapping his foot at normal volume, assumed he loved the music and stomped up the volume. Marlo pressed next to me and Larry on the fold down seat. In front of us were a couple who really should have “got a room”, oblivious to the hubbub and Brian on a fold down seat.
The next row forward had a lady fast asleep, two ladies in seats, a couple of children on the floor behind the driver. Bear later reported that the driver, after he had finished on his mobile, played about with some wires, sparks flying so the lady next to him could charge her mobile and chatted happily above the noise. Our speed was breakneck, only slowing for a couple of enormous speed bumps and one T junction. We overtook a Mercedes and another minibus who had had the gall to pass us whilst we were taking on more at a bus stop.
A couple of stops saw more climb on. Now three standing. One on the rear ladder, three on top and one hanging in or out of the open door. I wondered what would happen if he sneezed. Bear said the chap missed his hand hold on a particularly fast bend and swung Buster Keaton style and grabbed him on the ear, apologising as he lunged for the handhold above Bear. Marlo and I were fully glued together from the adjoining thighs down the full length of our legs. We discussed plans for careful de-attachment when we got back to town. Needless to say the journey was punctuated equally with incredulous gasps, much giggling and downright wet-eyed laughter.
So how many did we get on a bus with a drivers seat with two beside him, nine seats in the rear with three fold downs – total fifteen. Answer 29, twenty four in, two hanging and three on top. We bimbled back to Bruno’s. Someone said we may be a little early for Happy Hour. I didn’t care if it was Sad Hour, I wanted to celebrate getting off the bus in one piece.
ALL IN ALL NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED