Bimbo Bus Attendants

November 13, 2006
Day 411

Today I wanted to see the Meeting of the Waters, at the confluence of the Rio Negro and the Amazon. When the dark waters of the Negro collide with the brown waters of the Amazon, the differences in velocity and volume create a dramatic natural border in which the rivers don't mix completely for several miles. While I was walking through the garbage and mud near the port looking for a boat to take me out, I was greeted by a huge downpour that wouldn't let up. In the Amazon, the rain could continue for days, so I decided that the Meeting of the Waters wasn't that important to see after all and planned to leave the city.

Craig and I packed up our stuff and got on a city bus in the middle of the rain to go to the bus station. The way the buses work here is that you get in the back door, pay the bus attendant, and walk to the front. We paid our attendant, who was a young bleach blond girl with painted nails and jewelery everywhere, and told her we wanted to go to the bus station. She seemed to understand, but as the bus moved on, she proceeded to talk on her cell phone, chew her gum, put on more makeup, and adjust her hair. I reminded her once again of our destination just to be sure, and she nodded at me indicating that she hadn't forgotten us. After around twenty minutes, she gave us an embarrassed look. Somehow, she had forgotten to tell the driver to stop for us! We had to drive all the way around the entire city and wait for the bus to pass the bus station yet again. After spending forever riding in the rickety old bus with no shocks, we finally stopped at the bus station. Well, we actually stopped 200 meters beyond it, but close enough.

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