Saturday, December 4, 2010

City buses

The driver's area of one is covered in stickers in marijuana leaf shapes. Others have images and metal plaques of la Virgen de Guadelupe and other religious icons. On one night ride, the driver's girlfriend, I think, draped herself over his shoulders and presented him with a large greeting card to read as he drove. Maybe it was his birthday?
Modern highway buses in Mexico, at least the first-class ones, are clean and comfortable as any north of the border bus. The ride from Cancun has movies and they give you a (nonalcoholic) drink when you board. But the city buses in Merida are a different thing. They appear to be operated by numerous private companies, each with different colours and models of vehicle. Many of them seem to have broken axles or other worn-out parts that grind or clank horribly at sharp turns. Despite this, they roar down the roads at frightening speeds if they get a clear stretch, and sometimes seem to be gunning for the parked car up ahead, but then they swerve just in time. The printed bus schedule is indecipherable to me, so I just try to slowly figure out by trial and error which bus takes me where, and how it returns. They are cheap though - 6 pesos or about 50 cents - and plentiful and it seems they will stop almost anywhere if you flag them down. Usually.

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