Friday, February 6, 2009

Sitting on the bus to Nueva York

It's a rite of passage for twenty-something northeasterners: a bus ride to New York. A few years ago you had two options: Chinatown and Greyhound. Whichever one you opted for meant that you didn't mind being on the edge of life and death, or that you could afford to splurge and spend more than $20. I have never taken Greyhound. Bring on the Russian roulette.

Ah, the ever-frightful Chinatown bus. Whether it was Fung Wah or Lucky Star, the company name was glued onto the side of the bus in Chinese so you weren't quite sure which company you had your ticket with. The gathered crowd wasn't sure either, but you had solidarity in numbers and slips of paper with a confirmation number. The attendant, who finally appeared minutes before the scheduled departure, was usually screaming into his or her phone in Chinese--probably at the bus driver for being lost. If you had been approved to board, a process that seemed pre-determined by fate and had nothing to do with where and when you purchased your ticket, you squeezed through the aisle and sat down next to an irritated person who did not want you there. That person would then bring out a snack--a pastrami sandwich, egg drop soup, a roast turkey--while watching bootleg movies on his computer. Thirty minutes later, you were too distracted by the speeding death trap your bus had become to notice his snoring rivaled Pavarotti's vibrato.

My, my, how far we have come. I write this as I am comfortably reclined in my Bolt Bus seat. Yes, the bus has WiFi. Lap of luxury, my friends. Don't get me wrong, I dream of avoiding this altogether one fine day and being handed my complimentary New York Times on the Acela. But for now, this suits me just fine.

Side note: I am slightly annoyed by the guy behind me who's been taking calls since this trip began and who's currently eating an orange. However, it's a delightful scent, so I can't complain too much.

Correction: I just heard that Bolt Bus is a joint venture between Greyhound and Peter Pan. Merde, I am a bonafide yuppie.

1 comment:

  1. One time, on the Apex bus between DC and New York, the emergency exit on the roof of the bus was missing. The unconventional skylight might have been lovely if it hadn't been raining...

    Can't wait to read more of your lovely thoughts!