Tuesday, 15 January 2013

The Double Decker Bus


“Never See Come See- Someone who has recently been exposed to anything new, and who overdoes it to ridiculous proportions”- Côté ci Côté la

The Coomotor Bus Company has recently added a new bus to its fleet: the Navette XL, a double decker bus that seats about 50 persons. Last week, I had the chance to travel from Bogotá to Neiva in the new bus, which was exciting. My excitement, however, had nothing on that of my fellow passengers and non-passengers alike. Theirs was one of dawning wonder and truly gave new meaning to the phrase: never see, come see.
It was a little after three on a chilly Wednesday afternoon in Bogotá, and I was seated in the VIP Waiting Room, updating my mother as to my whereabouts. I had been on the phone for all of 10-minutes when it happened. There was a delighted scream from the little girl behind me, and the animated gestures of an employee as he pointed to something outside. As I rubbed my ears, I instinctively turned to look through the glass. There it was: the Navette XL.
The latest addition was blue, gigantic, and had a number of words and insignia superimposed on its side. I noted that the driver was seated on the lower floor, and the entrance was situated in the middle of the bus. The bus hostess was a cheery, almost plump woman, who exited the bus looking very pleased with herself. Apparently, she had just been named, “Miss Double Decker” at the company’s annual beauty pageant.
The reactions from those seated in the waiting area were varied and ridiculous. One girl was standing on her seat, jumping up and down, trying in vain to catch a glimpse. One man almost walked into the glass door as he stared avidly at the great, blue marvel. The supervisor abandoned his afternoon snack long enough to look around at the reactions. As he did, he smiled to himself and nodded his head, probably thinking, “That’s exactly what we expected!”
I was snapped out of my reverie by the hostess’ announcement that it was time to board. People hastily grabbed their bags or puppy carriers, hugged family members, and rushed to get on the bus. I suppose the notion of forming a line was lost on them. On entering the bus, I noticed that the lower level was much smaller than the upper one. Persons who were not seated on the upper level, came up anyway to see what it looked like, and commented on the grandeur, loudly.
The scene outside was straight out of the movie, Titanic. The onlookers had assembled with their cameras, iPads or Smartphones, taking photos of the bus. One family decided to have a photo shoot and executed a number of poses, while the photographer- an employee at the terminal- snapped away. A woman seated in another bus that was easily dwarfed by the other, peered out of her window and looked upwards, mouth agape at the sheer size of the Navette XL.
Meanwhile, a new wave of astonishment and dumb questions had broken out inside. The perpetrators were three middle aged women, named Doña Maria, Doña Astrid, and Doña Julia. Doña Maria was the only one travelling that day, but the other two women came up to ensure that she was seated. Doña Astrid was completely taken aback by the size of the bus. She came upstairs, her head moving in dizzying circles as she took in, and gave her opinion about everything, from the seating arrangements to the large windows to the location of the fire extinguisher and emergency exits. She proceeded to measure the bus, walking up and down and touching things as if she were a surveyor of all things double deckered.
Doña Julia, who was helping Doña Maria get settled, started asking questions like, “Did they put two buses together to make this one?” , “I wonder what would happen if the top half fell off?” , “I wonder if Coomotor would create a triple decker bus next?” and “Where could I get a ticket to travel on this bus?” Suddenly, the bus lurched forward as the driver started the engine, and Doñas Astrid and Julia realized that they were not supposed to be on board. They hastily wished Doña Maria a feliz viaje, and with one, last glance, vanished.
Pretty soon, the bus was on its way out of the terminal, while its fervent admirers looked on, waved, or took more photos. Doña Astrid could be seen making the sign of the cross then, blowing a kiss to her friend. As the bus headed southward out of Bogotá, its admirers increased. Passersby on motorcycles, in cars and other small buses, could not hide their shock.
All of a sudden, their excitement became exhausting. I pulled the curtain across the window, settled in and dozed off to sleep. It came as no surprise that I had a dream about The Titanic.

Until the next post.