One of my favorite things about Latin America has always been the bus. I grew up in public transportation deprived California and as a result have an unrequited love affair with public transportation. Weirdly after I studied abroad in Chile I fell even deeper into the love affair with everything that other people hate about busses in South America.
I love it when they are so crowded that you get to shove people out of your way to get off. I love the small adrenaline rush of knowing you’ve got to get OFF THE BUS before the driver take off without you and I especially love it when people get on the bus and sell stuff like ice cream or miniature paper models of Chilean navy ships (true story). I love that there’s no schedule, you just hang around till one comes and I love, love, love watching the city whizz by out the bus windows. And if I loved busses before today I entered into a domestic partnerhsip with them because the bus blessed me with a memory that will endear me to them forever.Today we walked all over downtown Bogota much to mine and Elian’s delight. Bogota is especially beautiful at Christmas time and Elian was beaming with joy watching the bubble vendors in Plaza Bolivar and laughing as the other children jumped up to pop them. We were having so much fun in fact that our party of 5 walked about 2 miles and then realized we would have to walk 2 miles back. We couldn’t get a taxi so we decided to take the bus which I thought was a great idea except… the four of us were also carying 5 bags of heavy groceries, a crib mattress, a stroller, a toddler bathtub and a very active toddler. And uh, bus drivers don’t like just sit at the curb cause you’re slowed down by your million pounds of food or small toddler.
But this is Colombia, the land of possibility and qustionable safety rules so Arnold took a firm grip on Elian and the rest of jumped on the bus whilst hystericlaly throwing on packages, mattresses etc. I would’ve been embaressed but it’s too much fun being the crazy people who are basically moving into the bus. Besids I’m a parent now, I don’t have time to be embaressed. And where’s the fun in that anyways?
So we’re all sitting seperately in the back of the bus packed with people and 4 weeks worth of groceries laughing or asses off at the ridiculousness of it all when I spied Arnold and Elian sitting four rows in front of me. They were sitting in front of a man who was playing an Andean pan flute (again totally normal). Elian was dancing and babbling and generally crowing with joy. Apparently he loves buses, music and dancing, just like his parents. His pleasure was so infectious he seemed brighter and more alive then the thousands of Christmas lights floating over La Septima. And as I watched Arnold through the crowd of people I saw him holding Elian up and at that moment I thanked God for busses and the joy they give little boys, new parents and their family friends, all sitting like sardines in a bus, weighed down by 5 grocery bags, one baby bath, a stroller, a mattress and the insanity of being totally infatued with a small boy.