Thursday, March 27, 2008

Magic Bus

This photo comes from here, a collection of simple jaw-dropping images of decorated busses in Pakistan. The American art car people have something to learn from these artists! This bus that's loaded with all the people on top reminds me of the bus we took the length of Ecuador on the Andean highway. The road runs across the tiptop ridge of the Andes, and we thought it would be a cheap and scenic way to see the country. Well, it was cheap. But scenary? no. We were virtually in the clouds the entire way. You could only see the crosses that lined the road, where previous busses had careened over the edge and killed all the passengers. There also were no bathroom stops, only stops for tire-changing and picking up more passengers to squeeze aboard. We sat in front of a woman who was sharing the same seat with two children and several chickens. At one point the child peed on the seat, and the German tourist who was sharing the row with her was not very pleased.

There was a King of the Bus, a very young boy whose job it was to collect any gear or boxes or animals that wouldn't fit on the bus, and pile them up on top. While the bus was moving, he'd climb down the outside ladder, grab the stuff, run up the ladder with it on his shoulders and store it somehow. He would also come aboard and collect the fare. People got on and off in the middle of nowhere. Out of the fog, you'd see people appear, standing along the road in woven sarapes and hats, with a sheep or a pile of bags. The King of the Bus would get them aboard and we'd be underway in minutes.

I have never been more happy to get off of a bus.

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