Public transportation is anarchic in and around  Nassau, but I think it is one of the best features of life.  When they eventually standardize it (as I am certain they must, sooner or later) I will be sad.  This entry is in homage to the buses here, called jitneys.

I love trains, metro-lines, trams, streetcars. When I first went to NYC as a young adult, I had been warned by a lot of island people that the city was dangerous, that I would be mugged in Times Square, that I should avoid making eye-contact on the subway because I would get mugged and most important, that the city was disorienting, crazy, too busy. I was never mugged, and I never found the city disorienting, because Manhattan in built like a grid, and if you can get to a subway, the city becomes even more known along the very fixed underground routes of the metro. Now in this list of public transportation, you note that I have left out buses. I hate American buses. I associate them with tiring six hour drives through central NY state,  a smell of exhaust and formaldehyde that nauseates me, being crammed in too tight with too many sweating bodies, depressing bus terminals, too much herky jerky stopping and starting, too much anxiety over the bus schedule and too many hours walking blocks and blocks from the bus route to this or that house in suburban NJ, depending on where my sister is living.

But the point of all this is that I love Bahamian buses. They are cheap (1.25 per ride, no matter the distance). They drop you off anywhere on the route, (you just yell out “Bus Stop!” when you want to stop).  They are fast (most of the drivers are speed demon young men) and they are interesting (they are filled with a cast of characters it is hard to imagine, they just have to be believed).

The last jitney I was on had a very loud, crass woman who made funny running commentary on everyone who entered and exited the bus. On seeing a pregnant girl leave, she shouted out “Did yall see that girl? Walk it out girl! Show your belly! You so neat and cute! Go girl” and then when another pregnant woman exited, she shouted out “Y’all see how big that woman is? Her man, he done do her right in; she could only be carrying twins in there! He put all his backbone into that, all of his spine-juice! Y’all see what this rainy weather causes? Horniness! Pregnancy! Damn, I’m horny right now, I have to go home for me and my man to work it out!” Things went along in this vein until she reached her stop and bounced off.

Advertisements