Saturday, December 30, 2006

Road trip

The longest bus ride that I ever took, prior to my current job, was with my friends from med school when we had a North Luzon tour. I took longer land trips but usually in our family car and my dad driving. So long roads trips by bus are fairly new. I frimly believe that God makes me go through this long bus rides to test my patience, because I am a very impatient person.

Since November, I take the bus on the average of 12 hours a week or 48 hours a month. As I was telling my friend Angie the other day, I've already wasted 3 days of my life in buses. In this time and age where everything is instant, I can't help but feel like those 72 hours where really wasted. All the more, when I think of my colleagues in VisMin who take the plane and get to their destinations in less than an hour.

Since I am already a pseudo-expert on big buses, I've already learned a few things.

First, don't take the 1st bus that comes your way. Choose. Unlike before where I take the very 1st bus that comes, because I am afraid that will be the last one. As one of my friend's mom said, "There would always be one coming. Just like anything in life. We get second, third and even fourth chance." I believed her, but only on the bus part. Not about the other things in life.

Second, take the front seat if its vacant. Because I am a visual person, I like seeing everything in wide screen so there could be nothing better than the front seats.

Lastly, don't take seats in front of children. If an adult like me gets bored in these long road trips, what will you expect from children? Their attention span is 5 mins, max, and have energies equivalent to 5 bottles of Red Bull. They would have to find something to amuse themselves. Trust me, they can make your trip hell. You are lucky if they only put in maximum their PSPs or Game Boys' volume. But on unfortunate days, they resort to kicking the back of your seats, pulling your hair and even poking their fingers in between your seat. Before I took these bus rides, I was ambivalent to children. Now, I absolutely stay away from them if permitted.Kids will always be kids after all. And I am only human.

But don't let my pessimism get to you. If there are bad things about long bus rides, there are good things too. The 6 hours that I spend on the bus are considered MY time. These are precious hours where you can absolutely think, even rethink, about life. This is the best time to wonder if your cute seatmate is single? Or you even consider asking him yourself. Or why that creep across the aisle is ogling at you? Or why the driver drives so slow that you'd want to take over the steering wheel? Or why the hell are you thinking at all when you can be sleeping?

Then if you've thought of everything you can possibly think, there is the TV(with DVD, thank God). Don't worry, all air conditioned bus going north are equipped with 1. The best seats for watching movies in the bus are aisles seats, preferably from row 3 onwards. You'd strain your neck if you watch from the front seats. You'd see all kinds of movies. From cheap Pinoy movies, to great old foreign films. From the must-see to never-heard. But if you don't like what's showing, you can always resort to the previous activity -- thinking.

And then, you can always make friends in this long trips. Although I haven't personally done this, yet. If you are the type who can start up a conversation with a total stranger, then good for you. But you have to remember that at times when you just want to be left alone, I'm sure there are people who wants to be left alone too. So be cautious on being friendly with your seatmate.

Remember, you'd be in that bus, in that seat, at least for 6 hours. The very least thing you can do is make the trip comfortable for yourself and your seatmates too. Oh, and don't forget to look out the windows, especially during the day. The countryside is lovely.

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