Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Catching the Bus

I got my first experience catching one of the regular "especial" buses last night. I went to the Mariscal to meet up with my one Ecuadorean friend for a bit and tried to leave in time to catch the EcovĂ­a, which stops running at 10. It was five till, but the last south-bound bus had left. This is one of the three bus rapid transit lines, with platforms and doors like a subway station, that I'd managed to ride exclusively so far.

It's not supposed to be safe walking back to my part of town at night, but it's amazing how fast your perception of the value of money adjusts. I really didn't like the idea of paying a cab two or three dollars to get home when the bus only costs a quarter. I walked up to another busy street that I knew would have plenty of taxis, (there are thousands) thinking I'd perhaps walk a little ways, then hail a cab a little closer to the shady Parque El Ejido. I put my wallet in my underwear for a minute, but realized that regular buses were still running on 12 de Octubre.

Buses will stop anywhere. Actually, "slow" is a better word. If you needed them to stop completely, they would, but I stuck out my arm, and a bus pulled over, its door open, so I could jump on without it ever stopping. It appeared to be a longer distance bus, since it had soft seats, but once you hit the city, your long distance bus becomes local, pulling in as many $.25 rides as it can. I asked if it was going by my neighborhood and it was. As can be expected, there was some fringe in the decoration around the ceiling, though not on the windows. The best were the crocheted borders of the visors, with a little hammock hanging between them to hold papers.

We got to Parque Alameda, and I told them I wanted to get off at the light. They slowed and I jumped and landed with a bounce and a spin, which probably looked completely idiotic, but I'd kept my balance and completed my first in-motion boarding and exit, travel in true South American style.

No comments: