Don’t ever stand at a bus stop with me. I am mala suerte – bad luck. The local buses generally run about every 5-10 minutes…EXCEPT when I need one! Either the bus is pulling away when I arrive at the bus stop, or I wait a long time before another one shows up.
Believe me. I don’t plan it this way. But it seems that it always happens. This is particularly true if I have some place important to go or am late for an appointment. I’ll wait and wait and wait. I think the buses must sense this and purposely go slow, or their drivers are clairvoyant and like sticking it to the antsy Gringo.
The Mexicans with whom I stand appear to take it all in stride. They know the bus will show up ahorita – eventually. And because there hasn’t been one in awhile, it will be packed to the gills.
I’m getting better about lowering my expectations and my anxiety level too. That’s because every day I live here I shed a little bit of my North American attitude. Pretty soon you realize that the people with whom you’re having those important meetings and appointments are either Mexicans or others who have already adopted a Mexican attitude.
15 minutes late? No problema!
Someone once said: “Life is about showing up.” They never qualified it with today, manana, or ahorita. My ex-wife, who lived in India for awhile, says that for the Indians it could be “the next lifetime.”
There are basically 3 types of buses here, and you can pretty much get to anywhere you want to go without hassle. There are the fancy Chapala Plus buses that travel directly into Guadalajara about which I wrote in a previous blog post. Then there are the big local buses that also go to Guadalajara, making multiple stops along the way. Finally there are the smaller buses that run between Chapala and Jocotepec. They run along the carratera too, but make side-trips into the villages of San Antonio along the way. They’re usually not as well appointed as the bigger buses, and you get bounced around quite a bit on the village streets.
I never quite understood why there are different prices for the same trip on the different buses. But if I take one of the larger buses to go from San Antonio to Chapala, I pay 9 pesos. If I take a small bus, it’s 7 pesos. The seats may be cushioned in the larger bus (but not always) and usually plastic in the small buses (but not always). In a small bus, the driver usually wears a polo shirt (but not always) and the drivers of the larger buses where white buttoned-down shirts (I guess they appreciate that in Guadalajara). Go figure!
I’m fortunate to have a parada – bus stop – right in front my house. The little buses rumble up the street after circumventing the plaza a block down the hill, and re-enter the carratera a block further up. With an aggressive driver, if you don’t take your seat quickly, you could find yourself tossed onto the lap of some unfortunate abuela and her bag of groceries.
All in all, however, the transportation system works pretty well here…for everyone but me and those poor souls who choose to stand next me waiting for the next bus.
Qué lo vaya bien!