Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bus Etiquette in Belize

It is no easy feat riding the bus in Belize.  In fact, I don't even think I have enough words in my vocabulary to give the bus the justice it deserves.  

My first experience went something like this: me walking on a dirt road seeing no end to my journey, a monstrous engine coming up from behind me beeping its horn wildly, a school bus painted in every colour imaginable pulling up beside me, reggae music making the bus shake and a man yelling "San Ignacio?"   I apprehensively said yes and got on the bus.  The bus is crowded and the seats are minimal.  Most people just stand in the middle yelling Kriol to one another.  The people all look at you because they know you have NO IDEA what you're doing.  I sat down in an empty seat and the same man who asked me where I was going came around and collected money from me.  $1.00 Belizian dollar for a ride to town.  When I got to town he yelled "white girl, San Ignacio stop right here!"  (I get called white girl a lot by the way)

My second experience was trying to get to the zoo.  That's an entirely different story.  Long story short, it took forever and consisted of a lot of walking before I actually caught a bus.  Realizing that there is an etiquette for catching and riding the bus, I have made my own list of things you should know about the bus.  
  1. Start walking to wherever you need to be.  When you hear a bus just stop on the side of the road and wave the bus down.  9 out of 10 times it'll stop; if it keeps going, its full. 
  2. MAKE SURE YOU STOP!!! If you're walking, it'll drive right by you.  (this happened to me numerous time before someone pointed out you need to be standing in order to catch a bus...)
  3. There are no bus stops.  Just people stopping everywhere along side the road.  (makes riding the bus difficult because you stop 100 times in what should be a 5 minute ride to town)
  4. When you get on the bus, sit in the first empty seat.  You will be sitting beside someone who probably can't understand you, but they're going to chat you up anyways.  
  5. As the bus clears out and you get closer to your destination, move up.
  6. Someone will eventually come around and ask you where you're going and then give you a price.  It's usually really cheap.  HOWEVER, since we're white, you will get ripped off.  On average, it's $1.00 to town.  But this is subject to change according to the bus driver. (they make their own prices...apparently)
  7. Good Luck.
Peace and Love, 
Adriana <3

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