I'm not sure why bus rides stick in my head. Maybe it's because I don't typically ride a public bus in my day to day life in the US. Maybe it's because many of my Salvadoran bus rides have included a bit of adventure.
It is a wedding day. An hour before the ceremony, the bride grabs my friend Greasy and me by the hands. We run down the hillside steps to the main road to catch a micro-bus. We are off to buy the wedding cake. 15 minutes later we are there in "Mister Pan" to negotiate for a good cake. Then, big white cake in hand, we wait at the stop and flag down the bus. The ride back to the community is a little worrisome as we bump-bump our way along in a crowded micro, thinking that we are going to be really late for the wedding. With 10 minutes to spare, we are back in the community, cake in once piece, just in time for the bride to dress and have a few alterations done before the ceremony.
I am living in the community on my own. My Salvadoran friend suggests we go visit her son's family at their condominium. We hop on the bus. My friend is very selective, only a big bus and only one with a driver that she knows. This is important along a stretch of road plagued by gangs extorting tolls from bus drivers. We get to the condominium development and get the OK from the gang "guards" to walk to the family's unit. Only the kids are home, so we visit with them for a bit and then walk back out to the road to catch another bus. It's raining, but has let up enough so we that we do not get soaked while waiting. Not long after we get onto the bus, the bus driver stops short. The road in front of us has become a river. There is nothing to do but to wait until the water level goes down so that we can continue on. I ask the driver if I can take a photo, and he laughs and says "sure." After about 20 minutes, the water level goes down and we were on our way.
I'm by the side of the highway, waiting for a bus to take me from Guazapa to San Salvador. The bus stops and the driver's sidekick (the guy who collects the money) helps the old lady in front of me to make the big step up into the bus. I have a soft cast on my leg due to an injury which occurred before my trip. The sidekick picks me up under the arms and lifts me right up into the bus. What a surprise!
From bus ride preachers, to kids selling plantain chips or bags of water, to older gentlemen with machetes, to smiling school kids, to grandmas who ask me to sit on their laps, to kindly gentlemen who offer to hold my stuff, I have met some wonderfully interesting and kind folks during bus ride adventures.
Just another bus ride...sort of.