Friday, January 30, 2009

Buses

Yesterday we took our friend Vince to the bus station so that he could travel to Bamenda. Here is how the buses work: The first bus of the day leaves at 6:00 am. Enough people are there to fill that bus and have some leftover. From then on, buses leave whenever there are enough people to fill one. Vince hit it just right. We arrived at the station around 9:30. By the time he stood in line for his ticket and made sure that his luggage was loaded, the bus was revving its engine to go. He wasn’t so lucky from there on out. First the bus was stopped for a police check. Everyone on the bus had to produce papers (a national identity card, residence permit or passport with a current visa), and those who couldn’t were escorted off of the bus and to the police station. Then the bus driver decided to make some money on the side. When they would arrive in a town, he would stop to pick up people who were by the side of the road, waiting for taxis. He would drive them down the road a bit, then let them off near their destination. All of the stopping and starting made the other passengers very angry, and they shouted at the driver until he stopped his taxi service. Vince phoned to tell us that he had arrived around 6:30 pm, making the roughly 250 mile trip in about nine hours.

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