11 May, 2010

the yellow bus...

Alas, the bus that picks us up from CPH everyday is not the new one. It’s another one which I really thought was the one going to be replaced, but it’s still running (barely!) The first day we were coming back from school the driver yelled to another guy hanging on to the outside and he ‘spider-man-ish’ crawled inside the bus, yelled at 3 of the kids to get off the engine cover and then whisked it open. The engine is on the inside of the bus to the left of the driver (they drive on the opposite side of the road). He started pumping something and water, I hope it was water, was squirting everywhere. The bus revved into action and we continued on down the road. Yesterday, while on the roasting bus waiting for the driver to show up something occurred to me. This little voice in my head said “Melinda, stop being on time”. Somewhere in my 30’s I became a time natzi. I was “one of those people who are always on time; or even early!” I gave myself plenty of time to get from point A to point B and rarely had that rushed ‘Oh crap, I’m late” feeling.


As I sat jammed into a seat –and Anjali’s sleeping head in my lap, with multiple pairs of eyes watching my every move. I thought “why am I on this bus, when the driver is still in the school and ½ the kids are running around outside the bus; outside the bus in the cool breeze?” I thought multiple times, in that sweltering situation, “just get off!” but then I would have to crawl over a couple of kids after waking up little Anjali. I also may not get this seat back (seats are a luxury on Nepali buses). So I sat there and reveled in the occasional breeze that made its way past all the little dark headed children surrounding me. I started making eye contact with whoever looked at me until that became somewhat of a game. FINALLY, 30 minutes later, the bus driver moseyed on over to the bus and the kids started pilling on. The driver whipped open the engine cover and did the pump thing himself while gunning the engine and soon like The Little Engine that Could, we were chug chug chugging on down the road.

Today as I was showing the photo’s of the new bus to one of the teachers, ‘my’ bus driver came over and sat down. The teacher then translated what ‘my’ driver said (while looking at the photo's). He said that I should take photos of his bus (the yellow bus) since I had only taken them of the ‘new’ bus. The teacher then went on to say that I should take MORE photos of the yellow bus since that is the bus that takes me to and from school. That bus should be more important to me! I felt really bad as I didn’t realize that these guys take such pride in their work/bus. I said I would promptly take a photo of the bus and motioned to get up. They said, “NO, not yet the sun is too high. Take the photo around 4pm, then it will be a better shot”. Wow! That’s some love!! As their instruction; I waited and took photos of the yellow bus. And here in this blog, I give respect to the most important bus in Nepal; here is the beauty in all its glory!


And if you haven't noticed, there really isn't any 'seat assignments' nor actually seats for everyone. When we picked up the new bus, the sales guy said "have a look, there are 34 seats". Bhola then turned tome and said, yes, 34 seats, that means we can probably fit 50 students in the bus. He wasn't joking! He motioned that the little ones could fit 4 to a seat and with others sitting on laps and in the aisle...
In this photo taken from my seat, there are 7 actual seats in front of me (2 rows of 2 seats on the left and 1 row of 2 seats and then one front seat on the right). In all there were 17 or more children (not counting the ones standing up! There is no such saying as "we're full" in Nepal.

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