Tips for Bus Travel in Developing Countries #2: Full House
To paraphrase The Wayfarer’s Handbook: empty buses do not travel far. Regardless of departure time, regardless of ticket price, regardless of trip length, regardless of weather: buses will either remain parked, circle the city seeking passengers, or frequently stop to try and sell tickets to pedestrians. This is a standard practice that will not be influenced by one upset traveler. Further, it is important to note that “full” is an extraordinarily culturally relative word. It is not at all unusual for buses to carry twice their intended number of passengers, in addition to significant amounts of cargo, which often include livestock.
Like so much involving overland travel in remote areas of developing countries, staying sane depends on mental preparation. It’s critical to realize that this is simply the way things are. There is no other ride, no pricier but safer alternative. This is it. Prepare for the worst. It will make things slightly more bearable when you’re 1 of 28 people in 14-seat minibus so full the bumper is dragging, and you feel the bus slowing down, and you suddenly realize you’re not stopping to let people off - you’re stopping to pick more people up.
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