Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 7th - 8:22pm

Another Sunday full of adventure at Rancho Pampa! Meg and I had decided last night that we wanted to go into town today but hadn't done much planning since there had been a chance of catching a ride with Martin. So we wandered out toward the bus stop just before noon. It is, at most, a ten minute walk to the bus stop so even with waiting for the bus to come I figured we'd be on our way to town by 12:30 or so. Not sure Ive ever underestimated something that badly before. First, the bus we were looking for to Plaza Italia never came past. I understood that it was suppose to come by every 25-30 minutes. We set up shop at one of the tables outside the ice cream store and waited. After an hour, no bus. But from watching everyone, we had picked up on the fact that there was a line of some sort and waiting with eveyone else was likely important. So we got in line and decided to go with plan B which was to take the bus to Once. We'd seen a two go by and had a vague idea of where it would drop us so figured that could be do-able. As we started watching for that bus Meg pointed out that some of the buses to town said Palermo which is an area I actually know a little better. So the decision was made that we'd get on which ever bus showed up first and figure it out from there. Within a half an hour, a bus going to Palermo pulled up. It slowed down for a beat then took off again. Our best guess was that it was full... until we watched someone chase down the bus they wanted on. Maybe there was some way of signaling the buses to stop that we'd missed? I asked the couple infront of us who had been there awhile where they were headed and they were going to Once. So I kept an eye on them and figured we'd get on whatever bus they did to get to town. If one had to be signaled to stop theyd have it covered and we could just go along with it. By then it was at least 2:00 and we'd learned a but but were really no closer to town. And hadn't seen a bus to Palermo, Once or Plaza Italia in at least an hour.
At this point I was really starting to doubt my ability to handle public transportation in this country. We'd already tried to get on these buses twice before with zero luck and they were about to defeat us a third time. Meg and I were definitely getting pretty fidgety and anxious. The weather wasnt helping much either. Somewhat rainy and very grey. I think we were both getting at our wits end when out of no where a whole bunch of red and blue buses round the corner. From all our watching over the last couple weeks, we'd figured out the blue and red buses are the ones to town. And these were no exception, two buses to Palermo and one to Once had all pulled up at once. We jumped onto the one to Palermo before it could get by us. Being on the bus was a mini success but we still had to pay to ride it. The people infront of us were all swiping their Sube cards and all we had were coins with no coin box or any obvious place to put money. I tried to hand my coins to to driver and a refused to take them. Im rapid fire thinking of how Im going to handle this new obstacle when the bus pulls away from the stop. We still havent paid and dont seem to have any way to pay if he wont take our coins and yet this bus is very quickly taking us away from home. I definitely had a moment of panic thinking we were going to get a ways down the road, still not be able to pay and get kicked off. Thankfully though some nice lady and younger guy realized we were having a bit of an issue and stepped in. The guy swipped his card for us while the lady tried to explain why the coins were no good and to just pay the guy back. Totally didnt understand the part about the coins but did manage to pay to guy back. Found some seats, sat down and breathed a sign of relief that at least we were on a bus to town (hopefully!). Now onto the next challenges: getting off the bus and then getting home again.
We're having more rain tomorrow so just going to split the Meg and Katie vs the Bus System into a couple days. Its a long enough story to deserve it.

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