A Stoddart in South America

The Chicken Bus journey

Today I experienced something new. Something typical to central America. A "trambilla".  Or chicken bus.

Let me go back a bit and paint the scene. My host mum also works at the school where I have my Spanish lessons. It has been taking me 30 minutes to walk to and from school everyday. My class starts at 8am, so most mornings I basically have to run/walk fast (for Guatemalan standards) to make it there on time. It only takes my host mum 20 minutes to get there, so today when we were both finishing at the same time she offered to show me the quickest way home. She cheats! She takes the trambilla!

Chicken busses are old, yellow American school buses that they pimp out, painting the outside all kinds of colours and inside, fitting a sound system that wouldn't be out of place in a club. It was an experience. First of all, there was no bus stop, we just waited on a street corner until one showed up. How you are meant to know where they stop is still a mystery to me! Maybe to discourage tourists from using them? Knowing when to get off is also a skill! You have to know where to get off and there are no stop buttons to signal that you want to get off, you just have to walk to the front of the bus without falling over (they drive like maniacs and the streets are cobbled!). I say the bus stops, but in reality it just slows to a crawl in rate and you have to jump. While jumping you are expected to pay the 2 Quetzals (€0.22) to the young guy hanging out of the door. The bus then speeds up again and in some cases the money guy has to run and jump to get back on the bus. As I said, an experience.

Anyway, now I know how my host mum gets to and from school so quickly, however I'm not sure I will be repeating it on my own tomorrow...

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Yolande

hahha great story you are a writer. Enjoy life x

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