almost epic bus journey

July 26, 2007

Dive right in.  This past weekend we had site visits.  Our FL carefully packed each of us PCT’s into a bus.  Think of a mother sending her child to camp or first grade for the first time…There we were, 55 little kids, crowding the Baku Bus platform, our backpacks on, whining for the bathroom, grumbling about needing a snack, each clutching instructions on how to find our PCV once we made it to their site.  Almost a mute point, you can spot an American from 2 miles.  With a seemingly sad smile, our FL helped Kelli and I with our packs, and made us promise to check in.  Really, though, our FL deserved a break from babysitting us and answering endless questions.  I have no idea what FL did last weekend, but I highly doubt it involved anything close to leading a pack of 5 helpless adults around. 

We had been assured, by Hard Core Bus Driver (HCBD) that our venture into the heart of AZ land would take ‘4 hours maximum.’   Hummm, 6 hours later we arrived, hot, tired and thirsty at our lovely destination; but who’s counting?  In the course of 6 hours a literal epic had taken place on the bus.  These are not merely machines of transportation; the bus drivers and their smoking chariots are the stuff of legends.  Problems are solved, deals are made, and in our case hearts are broken…maybe?  (the final debris count was as follows:  1 (maybe 2) broken hearts, 3 business deals, one sleepy/sick child, 4 hot tired PCT’s, 20 empty plastic bottles, duck feathers on Bus Grill Our HCBD was the true thing, older, lacking hair, teeth, fear and charm. What he did have though was a smile, eagle eyes that could spot a 2 ton dump truck and the elite reflexes that swerved the Greyhound type bus 10 feet before a certain head on collision with said dump truck. (easy translation: a very close call) In the course of our journey HCBD successfully swerved past/narrowly avoided: various farm animals (chickens, sheep, gangsta cows [think USA cow, with bigger horns and a mean look, not really sweet milk giving Betsy from Wisconsin], ducks, and goats); cars going too slow at 10 over the speed limit (was there a speed limit?) and prolly 7-8 more dump trucks.  I was impressed.  Ummm, the 6 hour Indy 500 for public transportation vetches, eh?  Later on in the weekend, I had my first AZ taxi ride, another story…

Innocently telling a Guy my name just as the grumbling chariot was pushing off had the annoying result of both Jen and I suffering under the googley eyed stare of The Guy for 6 hours.  Oh he did eventually fall asleep, somewhere between repeatedly asking me to sit with him and hour 2 he timed out.  Facing me. Mouth open. Twitching.  When the rest of the bus started laughing he woke up.  Between hours 4-6 after randomly yelling out my name and conferring with his friend, he wanted to know if I was married.  Well, just so happens, I’m engaged, but not wearing my ring, because I’m scared of losing it and my guy is back in America, somewhere.  Funny what details *ahem* lies *ahem* you can communicate between gestures and knowing only basic phrases.  The entire bus was fixated.  News traveling to the back in waves.  ‘She is engaged, oh, women by herself is not good.  Her name is Kolin?  What?  Shameful youngsters these days carrying on in such a way.  He needs a nice Azri. Girl’ etc… I turned around to find most of the bus staring and tittering., even HCBD was laughing as well; and told The Guy the basic  ‘tough luck buddy.’ The Guy looked slightly bummed and tried on a puppy dog look, (which didn’t soften my ice cold heart); then, bored with the old news of my engagement, Guy asked what Jens name was.  Being evil, I told ‘em it was Shneqkawa (sp?).  They were surprised and spent a while trying to figure it out, gave up, and left us alone… But not before it made the bus rounds causing even more tittering and funny looks.  It was my fault really, I should not have given my (real) name in the first place.  And I need a filter.  Lesson learned.

In between dodging road hazards, we made a stop at a roadside rest.  Just like on the US Highways, there are rest stops with toilets, areas to relax, and food (not junk food, but bread, kabobs and salad).  In particular this lovely rest stop had toilet issues.  Put nicely:  The abandoned toilets in KD station, BOM, Broderick Tower (remember the Psychedelic Toilet?), Pillsbury, and the mussed fast food restaurant in Detroit smelled less and were cleaner.  Enough said.

I spent most of my bus ride staring out the window (and trying to avoid goggle eyed stare).  Our route this time took us through desert flat land, rolling hills (reminding me of the entrance to the Black Hills of S.Dak) and finally into the lush area of G, known for its Pomegranates.  Glad at the site of our bus platform/taxi stand we stepped off smoking chariot with a good buy wave from HCBD and became instant celebrates.  No less than 7 of the town’s drivers formed a line in front of us, talking about us, pointing, mentioning us to passer bys and generally doing everything that would make you uncomfortable when you stick out.  You are in front of a crowd giving a speech, they simply laugh at you; in the school playground the kids talk about you in groups while you listed in, ignoring you.  If giving a speech, I’d simply leave or yell or hit the lights; on the playground I’d brawl.  We can’t do a thing; we don’t even know exactly what they are saying.  We simply stand.  And they look.  For 15 long min.  Finally E came to the rescue; word runs fast, a block before the station they were asking lovely E who we were.


Last weekend was stellar…


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