Monday, January 31, 2011

Chapter 32 - The Buses

We have a constant stream of traffic during the daytime, fifty feet from the side of the house.  Everything in Costa Rica is moved by truck.  There are huge trucks, and small and medium sized ones, which travel past our house.  Much of this traffic is buses.
            The bus system in Costa Rica is everywhere and often.  If we knew the language and knew where we were going for sure, it would be tempting to use the buses.  I have seen buses traveling on the most remote road, way out on the fringes of wilderness.  They are not only frequent, they are cheap to ride.  They have been provided for the mobs of people who can’t afford to drive a car.  They are privately owned.  There isn’t a municipal bus anywhere, that I have seen. 
            Between out home and the city of Alajuela, it is about 20 kilometres and the bus fare is 210 Colones which is about 40 or 42 cents.  Gas is expensive here, and you can’t drive a car for that amount.
One thing that is awkward about the bus system is getting behind a couple or three on the road when you are in a hurry.  The roads are windy and narrow, and places to pass a bus are few. And don’t get hung up behind a green bus.  They stop at every pot hole.  There are few bus stops that I would recognize, they just seem to stop for anyone who is standing by the side of the road and puts their hand out.
On the way into San Jose, the traffic is fierce.  They have designated the right lane of traffic for the buses only and they have transit police at intervals along the road to enforce this rule. I think it’s a good idea, that way the buses can somewhat keep to their schedules.
On a whole, the buses are very modern, and well kept up.
Traffic in general is unpredictable.  People here seem to think nothing of stopping almost in the middle of the road at any whim. Whether it is talking to a friend going the other way, or on the roadside, it doesn’t seem to matter. They just stop.  Drivers also back out of driveways into traffic without a thought about what is coming.  I have seen some terrible breaches of driving etiquette.  It seems to be expected here, but it’s difficult to contend with it.  I wouldn’t dare to drive here, so I am not going to worry my head about getting a new driver’s license.  Applying for a Costa Rican driver`s license is something else Melaney is going to have to tend to soon.  We are approaching our third month here.

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