Sunday, May 28, 2006

Public Transport
(snapshot of life in Costa Rica)

- During a ride up into Nicaragua, I shared a tiny school bus bench with a family of four. A small-boned family, true, but four nonetheless. The aisles were packed, too. With so many crotches at eye level, one swiveled one’s head at one’s peril.

Maximum occupancy signs could be found taped up by the rear-view mirror, somewhere beside a glittering bumper sticker ensuring Jesus’ protection, but these remained a mere, and ignored, technicality. Every time a bus stopped, more passengers squeezed on. Even with the seats stuffed and the aisles crammed, the passengers magically rearranged themselves. Room would be found, even if it meant patiently standing the entire four-hour ride to San Jose. The stairwell to the entrance became a perch. So did the dashboard.

On the rocky ride from the Paquera ferry to Montezuma, I was that lucky dashboard rider, delicately contorted between the windshield and steering wheel, inches away from sexual congress with the gearshift. Of course you prayed for a safe journey in such circumstances, a little of that Dios bumper sticker magic. But, given Costa Rica’s track records for highway safety, you always prayed for that anyway, wherever your seat.

More from Costa Rica


At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how travelling on a United flight today makes one find it easy to compare it to a trip in a developing country. At least the buses are inexpensive.


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