My first day was finally over, or at least, my first half day. It was time to get on the big yellow bus with the #45 on the window.
I wasn’t too sure about this, I had no idea how long it was going to take, but I was excited to end this very long and tortuous day.
As I got onto the bus, a man with a big gold front tooth, and a dark tan greeted me in Spanish. He was sitting at the helm of the bus, happy, and very chatty, I just didn’t understand a word he said. I smiled, and walked to the back of the bus. As I sat down, I looked down and realized the floor was made up of wooden planks, there were some large gaps in between each plank. As the bus filled up, I recognized a couple of people I had seen in class, they were all chatting to each other, happy and organizing their weekend. I sat in silence and looked out the window, it was stuffy, even with all of the windows down.
The bus started, and began to move behind a long procession of yellow buses, all emblazoned with the school’s name on the side. I hadn’t realized just how far up the school was on the mountain In Caracas, but as we drove down, the bus made sharp, and fast turns, making the back-end of the bus hang just slightly over the edge of the cliff. Not exactly the view that I wanted to take in. The bus stopped in various neighbourhoods, kids got off, and the bus kept going merrily on its route.
After the 4th stop, the bus stopped. We waited, but the engine shut off. The bus driver got off, closed the door, and disappeared. I looked out the window, from what little I knew of my surroundings, it looked like we were in the middle of a barrio, not the place you want to stop. Things went silent on the bus, a little girl about the age of 8, started to close her window, and the driver’s window, and started to close the windows up in the front. Then almost in unison, everyone started to close their windows, and the 8-year-old came up to me and told me to close my window. I was a little startled that an 8-year-old was telling me what to do, but I did it. Then I was told to put my head down, as I asked why, I slunk down so no one could see me.
I was too stunned to be scared. There was some shouting outside, and I could feel the vibration of the banging on the sides of the bus. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, except, I was officially scared. The bus rocked from all the banging, the girl across from me told me to not even lift my head to see what was going on, I asked why, and she replied “you are blonde and blue-eyed, you are obviously a foreigner.” I didn’t bother asking anything else, I didn’t want to start asking about the politics of the country.
The bus got hotter, and the hour delay turned into 4 hours. Just as we thought we couldn’t handle the heat any longer, the door opened, and our driver arrived with a coke in his hand like nothing had happened.
We never knew where he went, but the next day, we had a different school bus driver.