San Jose Stories and Tips

Where do I get off?

Ow. What the hell was that? Did something just stab my foot? I try and lift my leg up enough to see what this piercing pain in my ankle is, but it’s no use. These dilapidated bus seats are too small to do much more than sit up straight and look forward. So I rub my hand across my ankle to rub the pain from it. I bring my hand back to my lap, only to discover my own blood smeared across my finger tips. Oh great, I'm in a health hazard of a bus in a third-world country and I'm bleeding. That’s just great. What the hell could have done that? Contorting myself into quite a bizarre posture, I manage to get my head down enough to peak under the seat. "SSSQQUUAAKK" Whoa, crap. What the... As soon as I peak under the seat, my face is the prime target of the chicken tied up in a burlap sack stuffed under my seat. My twisted position barely lets me escape its beak in time. The guy behind me kicks his man-eating beast to get it to shut up. Once I convince myself that the man behind me keeps kicking the chicken and my feet for my own safety, I sit back and think to my self that this 2-hour bus ride is off to a great start and can't get much worse.

I should have known that it is only after you think nothing more could possibly go wrong that that is when things, in fact, do get worse. The road we are traveling down is like driving over rows of dead petrified bodies. It’s so bumpy that, even at our unbearably slow speed, I have managed to slam my head against the window several times. We are only going a dozen miles or so to the next town, but these road conditions and numerous stops make our trip a true test of endurance that even a triathlete would cringe at.

At one stop, a young girl gets on with a small dog and takes one of the only empty seats left next to me. Actually, she places the dog next to me and herself on the outside of the seat. Great, now I have some flea-covered dog beside me and a carnivorous chicken underneath me. Maybe I should warn the dog? Perhaps not. I suppose if the dog really pisses me off I can feed it to the chicken and no one will be the wiser.

I know its raining a little outside and the window on the seat ahead of me is open, but it’s not raining hard enough for me to be wet. So why is my butt wet? I look down at my seat, only to see the dog first with its wet tail and a puddle under its seat. I stare at the dog and scream profanities at it in my head. Where’s that damn chicken when you need it?

It's raining harder now and I'm starting to get wet from the rain blowing in from the window in front of me. I lean forward and say, "Pardon," to the man in front of me.

Nothing. No response. Surely he can’t be ignoring me, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was. Nobody else on this bus seems to care about my well-being. Why should he? How could he not know I was getting soaking wet because his window was down. It’s the only window on the whole bus that’s down.

Again I lean forward and say, "Pardon." This time tapping the man on the shoulder.

The man turns his head to look at me. Not knowing much Spanish at all, I simply use the universal language of pointing. I point at his window and motion my hands in a upward motion implying I want him to put the window up. He shakes his head and nods. Okay, good I thought, he’s going to put the window up and maybe I will be dry by the time we get to the next town. He reaches for the window and messes around with it for a minute and then stops. The window is still down. What’s the problem? I tap him on the shoulder again. This time he shakes his head no and rambles off something in Spanish. I give up. At least the rain will wash away this dog piss I'm sitting in.

I am officially soaked all the way through. The dog is at the edge of the seat and the girl is standing up in the aisle so as not to get wet. I supposed I could do the same, but by now it wouldn't matter. Again, I give up. As I try to doze off in my drenched clothes, head banging against the window, I wish my friend, the blood-thirsty chicken, would have finished the job he started earlier.

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip