Riding The Bus

When you get on a bus in Honduras one is often in for a unique experience.  I have ridden buses all over Honduras and parts of Guatemala.  In Honduras the local buses are mostly ´chicken´buses, big used orange school buses from the U.S. in various stages of repair and disrepair, often with the name of the school still stenciled on it.  The long distance buses vary per price of ticket, service and route.  Luxury buses like Hedman Alas are air conditioned and offer a meager food service and make few stops.  But that´s rare for most poor folks like me and the rest of humanity who travel cheek by jowl with loud rap music blasting from a mounted TV screen or speakers that make the air resonate with skull-rattling sound.  When I say cheek by jowl I mean literally cheek by jowl, every seat filled with two often three persons and the aisles standing room only as one could imagine a sardine-can filled Japanese commuter train.  When the driver stops to pick up more passengers I wonder how in hell are they going to squeeze aboard.  But they do.  And he always stops to pick up passengers, even if he´s traveled only a block.  I have even seen them back up to pick up a waving, running passenger.  This morning I decided to go to Comayagua, the old colonial capital, 40 minutes away to buy gifts for my family.  As usual on a Sunday morning the bus was packed leaving La Paz.  It proceeded making stop after stop but even on the staightaway it just crawled along about 2 mph.  After several lo-ong miles I understood why.  The bus was almost out of gas and pulled into the nearest gas station.  We finally made it and I made my purchases.  The return bus was a different story.  This driver must have thought he was driving the Indianapolis 500.  A young guy, he raced along at top speed even in town skidding to stops when he decided to pick up a passenger.  Weaving back and forth through highway traffic he almost collided with a semi-trailer.  He passed cars on a curve and almost lost control of the bus.  What´s the rush, I thought, wondering if I was going to live long enough to fly back to  Seattle May 1st.  Relieved to reach La Paz in one piece I thought back to another bus trip in the mountains when the driver almost lost control of his speeding, smoking bus on a high peak and I could see the valley way down below as the tires touched the gravel edge of the narrow roadway and I saw the driver yank hard and we lurched back to pavement … but that´s another story.

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About Fortunato Velasquez

Fortunato Velasquez received his Registered Nurse's license from the State of California during the month that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. On February 15, 2020, my friend and the director of the Fundación Señor San José in La Paz, La Paz, Honduras, Sister Edith Suazo Fernandez died at the age of 47. https://youtu.be/Poqcf0vn0qQ This a video of her funeral.

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