I uttered the above words yesterday at our 2nd cross-cultural training day to the surprise (and horror?) of the American trainer! She was absolutely shocked to hear that I take the bus, that I have figured out the bus system (I went to the bus stop and checked the destination, not hard at all!) and that I am patient enough to wait for the bus (I bring a book and my iPod)… She had never heard of anybody taking the bus in San Juan before!
I know that in the US, taking the bus is a class issue – only poor people take the bus… It is the same case in Puerto Rico – except for the American tourists who take the bus to Old San Juan from Isla Verde (one of the resort-dense areas of the capital), I am quite the only foreigner taking the bus here.
For me, it has almost become a matter of principle, yes, I am European and I don’t need a car (and maybe it has to do with my fear of driving here as well 😉 ) and I want to prove that it is possible to live in San Juan without a car! O wants to buy me a car and even though I can admit that it would be practical in some situations, I am considering the cost – of buying the car, the insurance etc. And, I am worried that I won’t use a car that much, c’mon it is easier to take the bus to my Spanish lessons, to Old San Juan (parking is a bitch, and expensive) or to Plaza las Americas (the mall)… and it is only $ 0,75!
In Brussels, I hated taking the bus and the trams, as they would always be late especially when it rained and it was freezing cold… However, in Puerto Rico it’s never cold (it does rain sometimes) and most of the time I am not in a hurry! Nevertheless, this morning I was quite stressed as the bus took ages to arrive and I was afraid of missing my Spanish lesson… it turned out that el profe was later than I! Mental note: in the future get up earlier or at least bring cash in case I need to take a taxi… 🙂
By the way, the Puerto Rican word for bus is la guagua* – I love that word!
*) instead of the “normal” Spanish word which is el autobús. La guaguita is a mini-bus / van.