Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus (Ecua-version)

Verse One: The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round...

Well, at least they mostly go round and round. Nik already covered the hilarity and cow poop that ensues when you get a flat tire in Ecuador (loved the plantas trip) but also important to note is that sometimes the wheels are going round and round but they're not taking you anywhere.. Since all the busses are stick-shift, they stall and spin and practically roll down the Lumbisi hills everyday. Mostly, the busses impress me because they manage to go round and round really dangerous curves and cliffs. Gutsy, Ecua-bus, very gutsy.

Verse Two: The vendor on the bus goes BON ICE, BON ICE, BON ICE...

Mmm. Delicious. I love the Bon Ice sellers. Its super normal for vendors of all sorts to hop on and off the bus at redlights or stops. These poeple sell the afore mentioned Bon Ice but also delicious fruit, lollipops (yeah 3 for a dollar say WHA?), Ecuadorian snacks and the ocassional cure-all or religious jewelry. These last guys come on the bus, hand out their merchandise and then shout about it for awhile. The first few times I thought these vendors were just people giving things out for free and that I was getting ignored because I am a gringa, WHY DON'T I GET A FREE TOY TOO??!! but then, after I calmed down a bit, I realized his hand outs were just meant to tempt the buyer. Because after you hold that Jesus necklace in your sweaty hands, you have just GOT to buy it! Its like the DEB slogan, want it, need it, got to have it! (unless you shop on the OTHER side of DEB of course in which case the slogan is Its not a size, its an attitude!..why do i know these things.)

Verse Three: The windows on the bus go open and shut, open and shut, open and shut….

Unspoken war.

War, my friends, between the gringos and Ecuadorians. (And sometimes between the gringos and the bus itself since the windows are often jammed and LOCKED shut.) One cultural difference I’ve noticed, Ecuadorians do not appreciate or want the refreshing breeze that a bus windows offer. They prefer stagnant, humid, recycled air. The first thing that ANY true gringo does when boarding the bus is to run around like a crackhead opening every possible window because it doesn’t matter if it is 85 degrees and sunny, as soon as the bus is full, you can count on the Ecuadorians to promptly shut the windows, cut off the oxygen supply and then breathe hot breaths all over the place. WHY, you ask? I DON’T KNOW. I’m reminiscent of all those times we’d ride to the pool in the little red car with the windows up (in order to get there as hot as possible) only to arrive at the exact moment adult swim was starting. Its like I’m constantly ready for a cool, dip in the pool but I can’t because I’m eight and its freaking adult swim.

Verse Four: The driver on the bus shouts “Suba! Suba! Suba!”
Basically this is the dealio. There’s two guys in charge of each bus. One man drives and the other one shouts. That’s it.


  1. Haha we also have random crazy vendors, but they tend to hop on and off metro trains and commuter trains. We also get also the people begging for money/wheeling invalids (who are begging for money) around on the trains. The metro tends to get crazy hot, but obvi opening windows isn't an option. What I find crazy is that everyone just stands there in their layers of dead animal fur in the sweltering human body heat. So, kind of similar, I guess.

  2. just thought i'd put in a correction to kelsey's little song, the lollipops are actually 3 for 25 cents, not 3 for a dollar, this is ECUADOR people!

  3. Ughhh damn your exchange rate. I went to the movies for 14 dollars the other day. I'm going broke and considering prostitution.

  4. lololz going to the movies here costs 2 bucks!

  5. It is actually "siga, siga, siga" Literally "go, go, go". What ever you do, getting on the bus, getting off the bus, or finding a seat, do it quickly because getting the bus to its destination is more important than passenger comfort or safety.