August 12, 2006
Greyhound buses suck. There's no TV, no radio, not much legroom, and they don't give you food or drinks, even for rides of more than a day. The cheapest buses in Chile and Argentina give you all of those things, and they cost way less. Getting on a Greyhound bus showed me why most Americans refuse to ride buses despite high gas prices. If only they had nicer buses here, maybe some people would stop driving so much.
For the first few hours of my ride today, I got to listen to the driver talk about how tired he was. I guess getting on the intercom and telling us all that he was falling asleep was his way of not falling asleep. At that point, I didn't care if the driver was awake or asleep, though. I just wanted to get some sleep for myself, but I couldn't with the intercom going constantly.
Once we got to Orlando, my outlook improved greatly. The people became friendlier, the scenery was nice, and I was able to stretch out across two seats because my new bus was only half full. I started to remember that there are lots of good things about this country. Everything is immaculate, there's toilet paper in the bathrooms and you can actually throw it into the toilet, you can drink water right out of the tap, and the road system is excellent. You can just get on the freeway here and drive all day. That simply isn't possible in South America, even in the richer countries. Prices even got a little more reasonable once I got outside of the Miami area.
I rode the bus all day and made several more stops: Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, and lots of other places in between. I met a lot of people on the bus, including several truck drivers who were on their way to pick up their trucks. I liked the camaraderie of my fellow bus drivers. It brought me out of my initial culture shock rather quickly.
The day flew by quickly, despite spending it on a cramped bus. By the time night fell, I was in Kentucky about to head into Tennessee. Only a few more states to go until I got home.