The best way to describe the public transportation in Guatemala in one sentence is unorganized chaos that is sure to send your heart racing.
It’s actually quite entertaining on how it works. The buses look familiar…familiar being the exact type of bus I rode to school in fifth grade. To spice them up, they are spray painted to make them look like a mirage of colors converging together. They have installed luggage racks inside the bus for small bags, yet most of the luggage is thrown…and when I say thrown, I mean thrown, on the top of the bus.
I think of catching the bus kind of like a sprint marathon. You think the bus will arrive within the next hour or so, but not exactly sure, so you just kind of sit an wait. Then suddenly, a bus will come screaming though the already crowded streets with one man hanging out of the door screaming the destination. If it is the right bus, you viciously attempt to flag them down in order to get their attention.They slow down, with one man jumping out to throw your bags on top. You then run as fast as you can to the entrance point before it takes off.
So, it seems like once you get on, it should be an enjoyable ride, right? Far from it. These buses would comfortably fit 45, but usually are holding 80. Also, every time thus far, we have had to sit near the back…and they don’t believe in shocks for the axles here. So, we’re cramped, sitting on top of each other, and our fat on our asses are so desperately trying to absorb every bump that comes along.
The best part about the entire ride is that they take the turns fast. Remember how when you were growing up, you would often play jello in car rides? That’s where everytime a turn is made, you exaggerate the direction and throw your body weight into the other person. It’s kind of like that…except there is no exaggeration.
I now just think of the bus rides like a ride at Disneyland. Jump on, get your heart racing, then jump off. Except I get to kill two birds with one stone…ride plus get to a new destination.
Now excuse me while I go ice down my sore ass.