Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Greyhound

... bus, not dog, sorry!

Now that life is finding a ‘normal rhythm’ (which really means I’ve got both reliable Internet access and a little bit of free time), I thought I’d post a few stories and pics from the New World… In November, I hit the road thinking it was a great opportunity to see old friends and my baby nephew. First stop: Tallahassee, Florida and my high school buddy K.

I arrived in Atlanta after a rather unpleasant flight - packed and lots of screaming munchkins. (Does anyone remember the last time a flight wasn’t packed to the gills???) After killing 8 hours in a muggy Greyhound bus station, we hit the road at midnight for the final leg of the journey. For those of you unfamiliar with public transit in the US, it is much different than in the UK. Ok, they're both unreliable, but the similarities end there. In my experience, everyone takes buses and trains in the UK and as a result there are at least a few minimum standards. In the land of the car, things are a wee bit different. Public transit is unreliable, questionably safe (both hygienically and roadworthily), and generally catering to a different ‘clientele.’

Being adventurous, and on a budget, this was obviously the most realistic transportation option. Turns out, I must have been the only white girl to ride the bus in years. When we arrived in Tallahassee, at 0530, I tripped down the stairs, hugged my friend, then attempted to claim my rucksack… only to be asked for my luggage ticket. Yes, you read correctly, asked for my luggage ticket. (Does anyone remember ever producing a claim ticket at the airport? I certainly don’t.) A bit of shuffling later, the ticket was found, rucksack in the boot, and on our way wondering, “Since when do white girls get up at 0530 in the blooming morning to steal luggage from the Greyhound station? Where’s the cow? I think we need to practice our tipping!”

On a more personal note, if you find yourself conflicted about the ‘War on Terror,’ wander down to a Greyhound station. I watched 3 buses full of kids (yes, I said kids) pack up and head to basic training. These are the kids next door, both boys and girls, giggling, smiling, their entire lives ahead of them… How many of them are going to come back maimed? Or bitter? Or both? It’s easy to say the cause is noble… Until you see these kids…

No comments: