The secret joys of catching the bus

Listening to music, looking at cute guys, maybe starting a conversation or just watching the world go past. So far it seems like an overwhelming number of people I’ve interviewed have enjoyed elements of catching the bus. They tell me about the different things they do, or how it gives them time to reflect on life, or even helps them solve problems. I guess catching a bus is a time when you are doing something – you are getting somewhere – but you don’t have any responsibilities. You can chat with friends or just enjoy the time that you have to yourself. Some people have told me that they catch the bus further than they need to from time to time. This has occurred when they have got caught up in an interesting conversation or have just wanted time to think through things. One girl exclaimed that she feels free when she is on the bus (maybe like the kites in the picture – but then there are always strings attached).

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Lots of people say they love to watch other people on the bus or look out the window at the streets. I guess this is people’s chance to observe daily life. It is a chance to take in the community around them – not just the people they work with, study with or socialise with – but everyone who catches the bus. Some people who I have interviewed explained how seeing kind acts on the bus makes them appreciate and feel proud of the people in their city. On that note, so far both Vietnamese and Chinese people have explained to me that it is their tradition for young people to give up their seat for older people. I like that they think it is special for their country but I thought this was a worldwide fact (although my travels may prove me wrong). The joy of seeing a baby (a non-crying baby) on the bus is also something people noticed and that it would start a little community as people would play with the baby or talk to the parents.

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Of course the buses can be crowded and people have told me, almost with pride, that I must catch a crowded bus. I have caught some buses on my trip which have involved my arm becoming numb as I reach through the sea of people to an unclaimed space on the bar above my head. Some bus trips have involved body contact, the smell of everyone around me and the battle to squeeze through non-existent spaces between people to get to the door. On my last ride my friend told me I was brutal as I managed to barge through and practically kick the door open just as it was about to close on us. I guess catching a bus can bring out the inner beast within :P.

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