Monday, June 06, 2005

Bus Stop

While at the bus stop on Saturday, I queued up behind a large group of Chinese travelers (they were speaking to each other in Mandarin, at least), most of whom took an awfully long time getting on the bus. I'm not so sure why the rest of them took so long, but I got to witness the whole interaction when the woman in front of me paid her fare. She tried to put in just a dollar, and the bus driver stopped her and explained the fare schedule. She glared at him over her mask and argued ferociously, but he patiently explained that the fares were set by someone else, and he could not haggle over them. She was also, rather to her disgruntlement, far too young for the senior discount. The fare was $3.50 for the Express route, and that was that. So she pulled out a white envelope and very slowly fished out two more bills, which she fed to the meter; then she pulled out a small purse full of change and carefully counted it all before putting in two quarters. She resealed the envelope and the change purse, put them away, and then checked that her bags were closed -- shooting suspicious glances at the bus driver the entire time -- before moving down the aisle so that I could pay my fare.

Needless to say, the bus left late.