the other day i took the bus during peak hours. usually i take the bus during peak hours against the flow of traffic so there is a comfortable amount standing room on nearly any bus i take. this time though, i was going with traffic and i was running late. there was definitely no choosing a less crowded one, i just had to jump on the first bus and squeeze my way into a little cranny between a woman and her baby and a worker and his buckets. this fortunate place was just at the top of the steps and happened to be with a handrail nearby. i was squeezed up into the windshield, and after shamelessly complimenting my eyes, the bus driver had to ask me to move because he couldn't see in the side mirror.
more and more people piled on the bus through the front and the back, squeezing into each other with the doors barely closing behind us. soon after, i noticed two fingers holding two pesos out of the corner of my eye. since my little perch was right by the fare box, soon all new comers were passing their fare up, up, up, up and i put each one into the box, took a ticket from the driver and passed each one back, back, back, back. after i silently indicating to the driver it was my stop, i dodged through the crowds and sprang out the door. my friend mariela was waiting for me and as i told her about my trip she was laughing and laughing. she said passing money on the bus like that is something that has long disappeared but used to just be the way the bus worked... she told me i had a "true folkloric bus experience." it certainly ended up being one of my favorites!