Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On the buses, with Tio

I'm not the most patient of people. One of my aims when travelling was to try and improve this. After all, what's the big rush? I even wanted to learn to meditate. Have I become a more patient person? Close but no cigar? No, not close. I'm a long, long way from even a dynamite cigar.
Semi-cama means little in the UK but in South America it can mean many things. From almost horizontal seats with complimentary biscuits to, well, read on. On the bus journey from Potosi to Tupeza, semi cama meant:
1. Knees by ears
2. Screaming children, screaming parents and screaming Ollie
3. Ear bleedingly loud Bolivian rock music composed by Kim Jong Il's most effective and sadistic of torturers. They play only the first 45 seconds of each monumentally awful song, so that it's impossible to become accustomed. (Despite the agony, you can't help but have respect for it's genious.)
4. Baking heat
5. Windows that don't open (oh they could, they just don't)
6. All manner of salesman, preachers and lunatics allowed (encouraged?) to board and spout an hour of spwaffle before getting to the 'and for only 10 Bolivianos you too can own these disgusting biscuits/this ineffective dehumidifier/this latest deity'. It is the opposite of entertainment and if untertainment is not a word, it should be.
On this bus journey, I had a feud with the 10 year old boy sitting in front of (and therefore on top of) me. In this teeny tiny bus, he reclined his chair back fully. I responded by sticking my knee in his back, in a vein attempt to get him to move forward. The war of wills and knees continued for the whole journey, but I was in way over my head, outmatched. I wasn't his first victim and I've no doubt I won't be his last. His smug little 10 year old grin will mock me forever, Tio incarnated.

So, far from developing patience, what I'm actually learning is a growing intolerance of buses, people, children, buses, boredom, children, heat, buses, children, altitude, children and BUSES.