Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Monday, December 19, 2005

Get On The Bus

Madre Santisima. Today, I took the bus from Dallas to Austin. It reminded me of when I was a kid and my family would take the bus to visit my grandparents in Mexico. Fond memories; not necessarily good.

I got on the bus after spending several days in Dallas hanging out with some good friends and really doing nothing. My friends are doing well for themselves. The reason I mention this is because I suspect, at least in terms of privileges, my weekend was much different than that of most of the folks on the bus.

My bus took off at 10am. I paid for my ticket and ran to get in line. I made my way to the back as the long line snaked around a vending machine. The people looked tired. A couple of black folks, but mostly mexicanos. It turns out some were coming from Tennesse, Michigan, Oklahoma. There were soldiers on the bus headed to Killeen; Ft. Hood, I imagine.

The thing is, none of us really knew if we were lined up in the right place. Nobody at the bus station came to tell us. The employees weren't rude, but weren't helpful either. After a 30 minute delay, we started making our way on the bus. A guy in front of me listened to Norteño music on his headphones. A guy behind me talked to his friends about a subasta he missed. He buys cars, takes them to Mexico, then sells them. The guy next to me slept. We were crammed in like Sardines. Nobody smiled as we got on the bus. People kept a keen eye on their bags. A kid ran around with a snotty nose and a bag of Cheetos. A stranger helped him find his seat, called him mijo, and patted him on the head. I didn't get peanuts or a free drink.

I turned on my laptop as the bus took off and felt a bit weird. The guy sitting next to me and asked me how much it cost. I gave him an estimate. I started watching a movie and he watched too. Too bad I had my headphones on.

I took the bus because I wanted to save $70. The reality is that I could have easily bought a plane ticket. It would have been much easier and a helluva lot more comfortable. I was glad I took the bus. It wasn't very comfortable, but it was good to be back in a place with a group of folks a couple of years ago I couldn't NOT be a part of.

I thought of my sister's little kid. Will she ever have to take the bus? Probably not. Should she have to? Yup. I'm glad I took the bus. Do I want to do it again? Not if I don't have to.


Anonymous cad said...

En que te fuiste? En el Greyhound or en El Conejo. . .because you know, if you would have gone on the Piporro bus, you would have saved about 100 bucks! ;)

Yeah, riding on a bus now is pretty scary! I only do it when it’s justo y necesario!!

11:09 PM

Blogger Xolo said...

You are right. I think everyone in this country should have to make one trip (at least three hours) on a bus. You get to see a segment of society that is most often hidden. The same segment that made its way out of the woodwork during the Katrina disaster.

The funny thing is that in Mexico there are so many differnt bus services. Some of them are even nicer than flying and some are just upscale cargo trucks (and there is everything in between).

Hope you have time to write more over the break.

6:17 AM

Blogger Sangrona said...

Los, I will be driving to Mcallen on Thursday...I don't know if you and your brother already have plans for how to get home, but I can scoop you up in Austin if you won't be embarrased getting a ride in a Dogde Neon!

11:23 AM

Anonymous oso said...

The fact that I like Greyhound rides so much worries me that I'm one of those typical white liberals who thoroughly enjoys fetishizing the working class so much that 12 hours of cramped quarters is like heaven.

Then again, I'm also a big fan of airplane flights and train rides in Europe, so maybe motion in groups is more my thing.

I know what you mean about feeling odd pulling out a laptop in a non-laptop place. I had a tough time finding wi-fi access in Barcelona so I spent an unfortunately good chunk of time wandering around the cities crooked alleys with my laptop open looking for a signal. Eventually I found a few, but only after a couple hundred people looked at me like I was on crack.

4:04 PM

Blogger mariposatomica said...

You have to take a bus ride to Chicago and visit Cracked Chancla's book store. I really enjoy bus rides. Once I was on a bus for 35 hours. Went from Chicago to Nayarit.

6:39 PM

Blogger Lucio said...

That reminds me of the time I bus rode through Mexico – from Tijuana to Guadalajara, mind you, making weekly stop in cities like Hermosillo and Mazatlan. It was quite the experience… in Nerudo like fashion, the night feels all the more immense in my beloved Mexican desert. We’d pit stop in tiny pueblos and endulge in the local flavor; be it, food, clothes, gente, etc. Although I must say, one thing I love about the U.S. and will never take for granted... toilet seats. See you on the road.
- Lucio

9:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm from Edinburg and some how i have stumbled upon your... blog? i'm unsure of what this is called (i'm not too knowledgeable in this internet entry thing except for livejournal). Your entries are great and depict us exactly. its interesting to read a complete strangers point of view of where i come from. Only recently have i learned about the valley. I'm writing a paper on racism within Latin@s down there. I'm scared of what my interviews will bring to the surface but mostly... i just dont like racism within la raza. anyway.. just wanted to stop by and give my anonymous two cents.
cuidate- la Clara

12:27 AM

Blogger WestTexican said...

Yeah.. I agree people should take a ride just to remind yourself what its like. This past fall on one of my trips to Austin to watch the Longhorns play and tailgate instead of my usual roundtrip flight I had to fly and then ride back on the bus. (Times were tough that month)Anyways, I hadnt been on one since I was a kid.It sure was a good slap in the face to make me stop complaining over minor stuff and be thankful for what I have or that I dont always have to travel that way. Good post

2:16 PM


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