Monday, November 06, 2006

Transportational Peril

Khartoum is not known for good roads. There are always holes. Sometimes the manholes have no covers. Those of us on the bus home from school today were reminded forcibly of that fact.

For me, actually, it was a welcome diversion. The bus ride home is never what you'd call comfortable. The buses are privately owned, and it is in the driver's best interest to cram in as many paying passengers as possible. I was sitting on a 4 foot bench with my backpack on my lap, wedged between two Sudanese men easily twice my weight and volume. I was admiring the deep, decorative scars on the face of the old woman sitting in front of me, when the bus jerked to a stop and the driver started ranting in Sudani.

He revved the engine a couple of times, but the bus didn't move. Swiftly, and without any discussion, everyone on my side of the bus climbed out (except, for some reason, the woman with scars). I thought maybe we were abandoning the bus, trying to find another one that WASN'T stuck in a hole, so I followed them out. It turned out they were just pushing the bus out of the hole, then climbing back on in celebratory moods. It made me laugh.

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