Whilst living and travelling America, I have been lucky enough to visit 21 States so far… not bad for a British tourist. Getting around this many states usually entails a lot of very long journeys driving, flying or the taking advantage of the cheaper alternative, public transport. Since the rail networks in the United States and most other western countries are so expensive, this usually leave the good old Greyhound bus.
And oh my goodness do I have some stories about the Greyhound bus…
I swear getting on one of those busses is like playing the lottery, you never know what to expect (kindof like dorm rooms), it may be a peaceful quiet journey, a screaming child, a wacky neighbour, a couple having sex on the backseat… anything is possible! Have you ever seen the movie road trip? where the guys tries to lick the girls feet on the Greyhound – A great satire on the complexities of these crazy bus journeys…
The 2 wandering memories that spring to mind concerning the Greyhound bus are:
- The six hour journey from LA to San Francisco
Who decides to sit next to me, but a member of a local gang – The ‘something Locos’. Granted I wasn’t aware of his gang affiliations when he boarded and chose the seat opposite me. Conversation started when he asked for a cigarette. Hearing my blatant English accent he then decided to quiz me about my travels. I must admit I was nervous to start with, but we got chatting and he was alright. He told me of his brothers (who I stupidly thought were his actual brothers) and how they ‘rolled’ in the city next to San Francisco Oakland. I liked him, he was interesting, he had many tales of crazy parties and experiences I couldn’t fathom at the age of 23.
I noticed the Ink on his hands, and soon we were talking Tattoos, he was coated, not head to food, but enough. I had always wanted a few more tattoos, even after the disaster of the Chinese symbol on my back. He continued to show me his favourites, and upon lifting the back of his shirt up, it all clicked. No I am not talking about his gang tattoo that coated his back; I am talking about the pistol that protruded from his jeans.
It all clicked, the tattoos, the stories and of course the fucking gun he was carrying! He didn’t care; to him it was a way of life.
It felt like a lifetime but we reached Oakland and my new friend was off, that’s not before giving me a handshake you’d expect from a cool kid and handing me his number. The parting line was something like ‘give us a call if you’re in Oakland, I’ll hook you up!’
Granted I never called, but in my defence I was never in Oakland!
- The 9 hour journey from Denver to Salt Lake
This is a bit over exaggerated, as we had to change buses in Grand Junction and it as here the problems started. As our first bus departed for Vegas, we waited for our transfer. Upon the bus pulling up we were asked to place any valuables in the overhead compartments. Strange…! We were then informed that there was a vagrant on-board who was currently living underneath the seats. I shit you not… They had only been made aware of him when a lady complained another passenger had stolen some food out of her bag!
Rumour had it that he hoped on the bus without anyone seeing a few cities back, and thus far they couldn’t catch him as he was literally squirming his way under the seats, biting, clawing and scratching when they attempted to move him. The driver told us that when they reached Salt Lake they would take care of it, but as such he was confined to the back of the bus by security and had not harmed anyone they had left him there.
Luckily we didn’t have any issues with the guy, only seeing him twice at the back of the bus. But sitting there with your legs dangling on the floor knowing that there is someone under your seats is a real experience – and not a good one at that! Didn’t sleep for the whole journey…
I don’t know why these experiences just seem to always happen to us! Ha… But what great Wandering Memories – More to come so stay tuned!
A few more of our funny stories can be found
- The Unanswered Question in New York
- A Dormitory Story – Sydney
- Lost in Phuket – Thailand
- Mayan Magnificence – Tikal, Guatemala
- Dragons and Blood