17 September 2007 | Grand Anse
Today we took a public bus, our first in Grenada. We were headed to Grand Anse to meet up with Kelp Fiction and Blue Star for sushi. The busses are actually just Vans with lots of bench seats. I have wanted to ride the bus because I wanted to see how the Grenadians live everyday life, not to mention the fact that the bus is way cheaper than a taxi (about $1US per person). I've also been missing riding roller coasters and the way the bus drivers drive makes you feel like you're on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney World. The bus doesn't come to Martin's Marina where we were staying previously but in Saint Georges and Grand Anse, taking the bus is easier and faster than catching a cab.
We left the dingy at the Grenada Yacht Club and asked a lady at the bar where we could catch the bus. She told me to just cross the street and stand there. OK. They do have bus stops, but usually you can just hail them and they will stop for you.
Just as we reached the street we heard, "BEEE BEEE BEEE", and a sparkling burgundy painted van with shiny wheels showed up. It sounded like the Road Runner and moved at about the same speed, we wondered if they would stop before they hit us. A guy opened the door and ushered us in. Each bus has a crew of two, the driver and the guy who sits right next to the door, handling the opening and closing of the door and collecting the money. Coming from a fairly conservative country I would never imagine a van with pumped up shiny wheels and extra fancy eye catching paint to be a public bus. In the bus they cranked Dance Hall or Soca even when young children and old folks fill up the seats. I enjoyed seeing almost all the passengers grooving with the music. An old lady next to me was humming along to a song, and shortly, I was humming the song with her.
I was looking around for a stop buzzer but there were none to be found. It is not a huge van so I was going to yoo-hoo when it came to our get off spot. Then an old man sitting in front of us raised his hand and knocked on the side. Immediately the man who was sitting next to the exit knocked on the ceiling to let the driver know that someone wanted to get off.
Now with the "get off" trick in hand we managed to exit at the proper location and avoided ending up in the wrong prefecture. Our first ride on the bus in Grenada was a success. The experience reminded me of riding a public bus by myself when I was little and also riding a bus in San Francisco when I first came to America and didn't speak fluent English. It makes you sort of nervous trying not to look like a rookie when you don't know the system.