Top Ten Reasons to Take the Bus in Ecuador

I’ve never been a huge fan of riding on buses (with the exception of Charlie the Camper Van, of course). Maybe it’s because I used to shuttle between New York and Boston on the various Chinatown and Greyhound/Peter Pan routes rather frequently, sometimes just for the day (meaning nearly 10 hours on a bus). Maybe it’s because I have stressful flashbacks of waiting at 96th Street for a NYC Transit bus to take me to my 8am marketing class at Columbia when the local train wasn’t running. Whatever the reason, I’ve had to come to terms with riding buses because that’s just how we roll in Ecuador. I dearly miss the NYC Subway but there are some nice things about riding the bus, too. Here are my Top Ten Reasons…

10. Bus stops don’t exist.

You can get picked up and dropped off anywhere along the route. You just have to yell, “Pare,” or “Gracias,” but you should do this a good 50 feet before your actual stop.

9. You can get to know your neighbors…

…because they will be practically on top of you.

8. If your bus catches on fire, other buses will stop to help you.

True story – our bus stopped the other day in order for the driver and half of the male passengers (Paul, the former volunteer firefighter, was among them) to get out and help put out a bus we saw catch on fire driving the other way. No one was hurt and the firefighters arrived very quickly.

7. On long-distance buses you can watch movies.

They might be awful and they will definitely be in Spanish but it helps the time pass.

6. You can buy a snack.

Offerings on our local buses include coconut water, candy, empanadas, and something called a Marisa. I think it has nuts in it.

5. You can learn the lyrics to popular songs…

…because they will repeat again and again and again.

4. The guy who collects fares will also hold your bag or your baby.

Just don’t forget to ask for your baby back!

3. You can pay in pennies.

Paul once got 50 pennies back from paying his fare. He gave them right back the next day.

2. You can try out your new nausea medication.

You can also close your eyes and open the window to help with the motion sickness. Or, if you are a believer in “mal aire” or “bad air” close the window to prevent colds, headaches, and fainting spells.

1. It beats walking.

‘Nuff said.

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