Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bus musings

What type of place and situation is more propitious to thinking about life?
For me the answer is easy: long bus rides!

In Brazil buses are the main form of transport between cities (alternatives being the car and the airplane) and the one most widely used by the population at large. Intercity buses here are also quite comfortable and come in different categories: conventional, semi-sleeper and sleeper. Most probably the bus will have an AC turned on max (meaning a sweater is a must have) and might even have stewardesses (if it is really fancy). Buses go everywhere in Brazil and even abroad. You can catch a bus from Oiapoque to Chui (which will take more than a week):

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Or take a bus from São Paulo to Santiago in Chile or even to the town next door. Tonight I'm taking a bus from Rio de Janeiro to Piracicaba, arriving there early morning.

So what does this have to do with pondering about life??
Well, I love sitting up high by the window in the bus, seeing the world fly by. It gives life a sort of "passing" feel, as everything is temporary and fluid. Then the daydreaming begins, when I ponder about my current life, past, and future. I make plans, "what ifs", then deconstruct and reconstruct them in different ways. Everything seems possible, even if fleeting, and the world opens up to immense possibilities.

Traveling at night also has its advantages as the darkness gives a sense of privacy to the workings of the mind. Seeing the stars outside the window shining constantly contrasts with the shadows scurrying by. Just like that, I start wondering about things that have been around in my life for a while, people that have stayed longer that at first expected, people that reappeared and still shine around me. Then all the people that came and went, some seemingly too soon, others knowingly at the right time.

And when I realize I fell asleep, hours went by and soon it is time to arrive and go on with life.


  1. Bus makes sense I guess - I imagine the size and weather of Brazil makes rail difficult to manage (and you have no Raj to give you the infrastructure).

  2. Hi Gori!
    We do have a rail system in Brazil... but half was built by the Portuguese and half by English. This means that the gauge of the two systems is different, which makes them incompatible!! So much for planning...
    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Ha - sounds like the US power system, which was recently determined to be too crappy to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks. One half of the country is on DC current and the other half is on AC - and then there are other connection problems of varying magnitude.

    (I work in energy markets for the EPA, so I know a lot of details about how poorly designed our electrical grid is.)

  4. Good point! Never thought of a positive side to lack of planning hehehe