Tag Archives: bus ride

this time a lovely friendly bus ride – New York is redeemed :-)

4 Mar

After last posting’s horrible, nightmarish, doughnut-shaped loop of a bus ride, I’m happy to write that I had a very funny and friendly bus ride yesterday and have decided New Yorkers are much friendlier than Londoners.

People often start talking to each other on the buses here – they even, gasp, make eye contact with each other (as opposed to staring blankly ahead into the middle distance, a special talent of Londoners).

Yesterday, a guy sitting opposite me was showing another guy some aloe he had bought from the fruitshop. He was showing him how you can eat aloe raw and it’s really good for your health etc. (fyi, it looks a bit like a cactus plant). Anyway so I chipped in and started asking him about it, and he broke off a bit of the aloe and passed it to me to examine. He was saying how not only is it good for your skin, but it’s also good to eat.

And before you knew it, half the bus was joining in discussing the benefits of aloe and grilling him with questions about it. Everyone was smiling and enjoying the discussion.

I got off the bus in a very good mood.

a bus ride through an American fast-food, chain-store hell

2 Mar

I found myself on an agonisingly slow, very local bus last night, as one stage of a very long-winded journey to get home.

The bus took me through a string of unfamiliar commuter towns north of the Bronx, a surreal urban landscape I was only vaguely aware of at the start of the journey, being distracted as I was by the burblings of my I-pod and my meandering, slightly morose thoughts.

But as the bus lurched on interminably, my attention switched to what was going on outside the grimy window – and I found myself transfixed at the pure ugliness of the passing landscape. This was nothing but an American fast-food, chain-store dystopia. All I could see was an endless series of Dunkin’ Donuts, Wallgreens Drug Stores, McDonald’s, Baskin Robbins, Starbucks, Burger King, KFC…

I started to think the bus driver must be playing tricks with me and was going round in circles, because every time I got distracted and looked up again, there was another bloody Dunkin’ Donuts. Was someone teaching me a horribly cruel karmic lesson? Was I bound to remain trapped in this endless doughnut-shaped loop of fast food joints ?

And every single one of these depressingly uniform fast-food joints flashed that ubiquitous sign: OPEN 24 HOURS. Why do people need 24-hour access to doughnuts is my question? Can’t all those sorry, tired workers, paid a pitiful pittance of an hourly rate, just hang up their aprons and go home to bed? Would the world really fall apart at the seams?

This was a landscape where drive-thru, convenience, fast food and an overriding ugliness reigned supreme.

This was, I quickly decided, just the America I wanted to avoid.

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