This, my friends, is a Honduras bus called a ‘rapidito’. The picture is even a bus that goes right by my neighbourhood, which is kind of exciting! But I had to search a little on Google to find an appropriate picture – if you wanna see some gruesome things you can just type ‘rapiditos honduras’ in Google! I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint hearted.
So, why the name? Well they go fast – like super fast, like they are trying to win the grand prix. And not just on the, relatively, tarmacked roads. When there is a lot of traffic in the mornings (which is every morning), my rapidito goes through a back route which is a rubble road with A LOT of holes and bumps – and the buses insist on racing through. I have lifted off my seat by a few feet sometimes and I’ve actually considered wearing a sports bra for the journey, seriously it’s painful. But I love the rapiditos – they’re an adventure; they make getting to work fun and I see things that I might not see otherwise. They are also just 10 or 11 Lempiras, which is about 40p. I have met lovely people on these buses too – people who have chatted to me, paid for my bus despite me being ‘rich’ in their eyes and I’ve even been offered a puppy in a box. But today was a different story…
…today the rapiditos were not my friend. Today the rapiditos screwed me over – ok, it was kinda my fault too but right now I’m mad at the rapiditos! Today I was properly Honduran style late – an hour and 20 minutes! So here’s the story… I had met a girl from the US online who is teaching at the American School in Tegus and we had planned to meet today at Cascadas Mall around 4pm. There are two types of rapiditos – the one in the picture above and a smaller one; which is meant to be more dangerous. So I usually avoid these buses but, annoyingly, the only bus I know of that goes from el centro to Cascadas directly is one of the smaller ones. I had gotten it once before, with Laura, so I headed to where I thought it went from and said, quite clearly, ‘Cascadas’. The guy who collects the money said ‘si baby’ so in I jumped. We then started driving through el centro which was packed with traffic and after about 10 minutes the guy starts shouting (as they do to get more passengers) ‘Quezadas, Quezadas’. SHIT. I was on the wrong bus and this bus was going nowhere near where I wanted to be.
So, feeling quite nervous, I asked the bus driver to stop in the middle of downtown Comayaguela so I could switch buses. I’ve been in Tegus over 9 months now and I’ve become pretty confident about taking buses and walking around – but this area scares me. Luckily there was a bus that said ‘Carrizal’ right behind that I thought would take to me the mall – I was wrong, again. Basically there is a big road going around Tegus, kind of like a ring road, called ‘El Carrizal’ – but it is so big that there are 3 bus routes that all go round it in different areas. I didn’t realise this, I thought there was just one bus that went around the whole thing and there is a bus that goes from my house to Cascadas Mall called ‘Carrizal’. Therefore, I assumed all ‘Carrizal’ buses went this way but no, I was going somewhere completely different. So as we went further and further out of the city, I kept trying to build the confidence to ask to get off somewhere completely random again. Eventually I did and after running across the busy road, I managed to get on another bus back towards the city. I waited until a point where two types of the Carrizal buses overlapped and go onto a Carrizal bus that actually went to Cascadas. Phew!
So 4 buses and 43 Lempiras (which is a lot for a bus here) later I finally made it to the mall. My poor new friend had been waiting over an hour for me but luckily she had waited and we managed to have a quick chat before I hopped off to get another bus home. It’s funny that she thinks I am brave because I use buses and walk around… but I am amazed that she has bought a car and dares to drive around the crazy roads here! I have promised to take her with me on a chicken bus sometime before I leave 🙂
*Update – I just read in an article from a Honduran newspaper that just in the first quarter of 2012, 239 people died from road traffic accidents in Honduras. Scary!
I really don’t know how Hondurans can be late all the time though… I felt so awful to have kept someone waiting like that! But at least now I can tick being late ‘Honduras style’ off my to do list before I leave…
And one more thing before I say adios… I just saw this picture on facebook:
Juan Orlando is running for president of Honduras. This is like having David Cameron shoes. Enough said.