He Said/She Said: Transport Pet Peeves

He Said/She Said: Transport Pet Peeves

It is the best of times and the worst of times; transportation is a necessary evil of traveling.  We’d literally get nowhere without it, but no matter where we are, moving is annoying.  Here are our transportation pet peeves.

HE SAID…

Transportation is the bane of my existence.  Every one of my “worst moments” of the trip involve travel days, from rickshaws to buses to planes to taxis, there is nothing that frustrates me more.  BUT, there is no better way to experience a culture than on their public transportation.  When locals need to get around the developing world there is just one affordable option, with everyone else on public buses and ferries.  Annoying as it is, to really understand a country I prefer to experience the sights, smells and aggravations alongside the proletariat.

Atop the “worst of the worst” list of my transportation pet peeves are the short-haul providers: taxis and tuk-tuks.  I hate that these drivers hassle me to get in their vehicles.  Offering to take me to “today only” festivals and “special events”, they are pining to drive me four blocks for what I should pay to go 100 miles.  When a driver is standing outside their vehicle I keep right on walking.  These drivers know that instead of earning their living working all they need is one sucker foreigner to pay their day’s wage.  Always forego these hustlers and flag down a driver that is actually driving his vehicle to avoid getting taken for the proverbial ride.

The long-haul transportation has it’s own set of issues, primarily comfort and speed.    Every distance bus I step onto I sigh in relief, all I need to do now is sit, but then the problem starts: too many drivers drive like they have an angry wife at the destination.  They dottle, stop for tea for longer than they drive, get off to purchase groceries (seriously, one of our drivers spent 10 minutes shopping for brooms at a roadside stand).  Just get me there already!  It’s one thing if drivers are stopping to get more fares, but it’s unbearable when they just don’t care to get there.

While transportation is traveling, the struggles of it in so many places make me want to pull my hair out.  Even so, I wouldn’t do it any other way, traveling with the locals and experiencing their pains has taught me more about societies than anything else.

SHE SAID…

If there were some kind of iron butt award for enduring planes, trains and buses throughout the world I gotta think that we’d be in the running to win.  But, it takes a lot of miles on public transport to build up those buns of steel.  However, traveling like a local will take a toll on more than your bum, it will test your patience and your stomach.  This is just my (very) short list of transportation pet peeves.

The first obstacle to getting from point A to point B is finding out how, which is typically a hellish bus ride, and the second is determining the schedule.  More often than not the scheduled departure time is when all sane people would normally be sleeping. This leads me to believe that the driver and passengers are either insane to be getting on a bus departing at 3 a.m. or the bus scheduler is sadistic.  If the bus doesn’t depart at some ungodly hour, you can bet it will arrive at the most terribly inconvenient time.  The worst part of such awful bus scheduling is that the drivers need to be kept awake in order to drive when they should be sleeping.  This leads to my next pet peeve, which is the deafening music that is a trademark of bus travel in the developing world.

While I struggle to sleep through the ear splitting music and suck on ginger in hopes that I won’t revisit my last meal there’s something exciting about going local (or is that loca?).  I can also attest to the fact that any relationship strides we’ve made on this trip have probably been a result of surviving some of the most horrific travel days you can imagine.  Is a 36 hour bus ride through India couples therapy? I wouldn’t recommend it, but I can tell you it works.

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Comments

» Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) :
Oct 10, 2012

Two months in and we have reached the portion of our trip where we are experiencing the full force of crazy ETDs and ETAs. It was one of the (many) things we found difficult about China and the trains: if a train was going a long distance and left at a half-way decent time, it always seemed to require we leave at a crazy one. If we wanted to leave at a time that best maximized our time on the train, then that seemed to get us into places at 4 in the morning or 10 at night.

To get to the Philippines, we wound up having to take a flight from Shanghai that left at 00:40 and got in at 4:10… so we lost on both ends there! I guess we know why tickets were only $75USD per person!
Read Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)’s awesome post Oh Deer! A Daytrip to Nara

LOCAVORista Reply:

Steph, We definitely feel your pain. China was particularly tough with long distances and train times that were not conducive to a good night’s sleep. We just had a flight similar to your Philippines flight as well and they are not fun. It’s all part of the travel game!

» Bethany ~ twoOregonians :
Oct 12, 2012

Oh, dear. I feel this pain. We’re in the midst of an agonizing bus series from northern Laos to Cambodia and then back into Thailand, and our nerves are wearing thin. We worked up all that endurance in South America, but we must’ve lost it somewhere along the way… I’m hoping the relationship-building kicks in soon ;)
Read Bethany ~ twoOregonians’s awesome post Civil Rights and Chip Twisters in Mossel Bay

LOCAVORista Reply:

Bethany, the transport in SE Asia certainly leaves much to be desired, however the pain is worth it! Enjoy all the tastes, sounds and beautiful sights of the region- it was one of our favorites! We’ve enjoyed reading about South Africa, but it sounds like transport was a lot easier because you had your own car.

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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