A ride to work on the city bus is always a unique experience, but a ride on the 104 is a whole different ball game. I usually ride the Linea 48, a safe and more comfortable bus...but the 48 stops for 15 seconds and waits for no latecomer. So yesterday, I ended up taking the 104.
The 104 runs older buses; usually old Bluebird school buses that may or may not have the seats nailed down, rattle like mad, and the drivers seem to be convinced that with open windows and tremendous speed, even the oldest heavily-loaded vehicle might be coaxed into sprouting wings. There are times when not only the passengers and seat bottoms are launched from their usual places inside the bus, but the bus may also go airborne at various times of the day.
There are no shock absorbers on these buses and, I think because of that, you can always tell when the 104 is approaching from the racket of the rattling body, doors and windows. Step aboard and let your hair down...it'll be standing on end in just a few moments! Don't forget to get a good grip on something before take-off.
Linea 48 attracts a higher paid clientele, and due to that, it also attracts salespeople and performers of a higher caliber...or at least with higher expectations. The 48 often has traveling musicians who perform and sell their cds on the bus. The salespeople don't limit themselves to selling candies - they have 30 cent pens, sewing kits, and books. The real talent - the guys who push the screwdrivers up their noses - also finds itself on board the Linea 48.
ON the other hand, the 104 gets the candy sellers, the kids who sing through their mom's comb and a Kleenex tissue, the guy who can't play a guitar so he beats out a rhythm on a seat back with a coin or his wedding ring while singing off key, and the woman who rented her neighbor's baby to beg for money. The good thing is that they don't stay long - it's very hard for an off-key singer to be heard over the rattle of the 104 body panels, no matter how hard he pounds on the seat or the door frame. And women carrying rented babies have a hard time staying upright while the bus is airborne. So usually the beggars and the performers jump on, take a quick turn up and down the aisle, and jump back off. Knitting on board is almost impossible because of the bone-jarring, stitch scattering ride, but most people don't notice. They're usually totally occupied with hanging onto the OMG bars in front of them or over head.
This morning, while on my way home after my morning class, a man got on the bus to beg for money. As he started his speech, the driver said, "Hazlo en breve, amigo. No tendres mucho tiempo de hablar." (Make it brief, buddy. You won't have much time to talk.) No sooner did he get those words out of his mouth, when the bus lurched forward and we launched, rattling off down Abancay Avenue. The beggar seemed to be putting a lot of effort into his speech, but nobody could hear a word he said. Once we were airborne, he had no choice but to cut it short and get off at the nearest landing pad...errr...bus stop.
Small blessings in disguise.