Chapter 9
Changing the Channel—Going South

Now that was a full bus. The aisles were packed with as many people standing as there were sitting. In the spirit of the season, there was a lot of joviality as we pulled back out onto the dirt road for the final three hours of the trip. We were soon racing, weaving, bouncing, and rattling down the road; and with the cabin lights on, it was not too difficult to carry on a loud conversation. But then the driver turned off the interior lights. The joviality went off as quickly. It was very dark, and we were pitching around like a shaken can of living human sardines. It was also hot—too many windows had been put up because people didn’t want their hair ruffled. Or it might have been because the cool breeze coming through the windows also bears an amazing load of coarse, gritty road dust. Anyway, in this shaking, hot can of humanity, someone barfed. And during the next hour you could smell it rolling up and down the pitching deck. After that first hour its importance dwindled as other sensory input took precedence. You noticed by severe cramps in lower leg muscles that it really was important to try to stand on your toes to help absorb some of the rattling road shock. And you noticed that the schoolchildren of the US and the engineers that build buses for them have no concept of adult height and just how important it is to have hard metal ceilings placed well above nostril level on a hunched-up, standing, and frequently airborne adult male. What a ride.