The Delights of local transport

We'd just got to Woburn Bay in Grenada having spent a couple of days in St George's and picked up a card from the marina office which states there's a parcel waiting for us to collect from the post office in St George's. I volunteer to go - on Friday mornings there's a shopping bus which goes from Clarks Court Marina nearby into town – but you know what I'm like - that's much too organised for me - I prefer to be independent so decide to take a local bus – usually great fun. Matt drops me off at the dinghy dock with a ‘are you sure you'll be OK – do you want me to wait to make sure you get a bus?” “No I'll be fine” and off I go to wait for the number 2 bus – after about 15 minutes the bus screeches to a holt at my side – "Are you going to St George's?” “Yeah mon get in” and so begins my pleasant ride through the Grenaden countryside…. I'll tell you something for nothing – the Romans were never here! At each turn and bend in the road the bus hurtles round (if I could look I just know it will be on 2 wheels) and the driver slams on the brakes when the conductor sees a potential passenger waiting to be picked up. Eventually the bus fills up – we have young ladies, old ladies, rastas, babies and school children in uniform. One old man carries a bag from which a clucking noise emerges every so often. The old lady with the baby (well I think it's hers – although by now it's been passed round to just about everyone on the bus to try to stop it screaming) clings on for dear life then passes the baby to me (that quietened it down - my sun tan's not that good!) as she taps on the roof (indication to the conductor that she wants the next stop) and then promptly gets off the bus – minus the baby! Fortunately a young lady recognises the panic in my face and offers to take the baby from me (she does eventually get off the bus with the baby). As we get nearer to town I realise that I'm not sure where the post office is so politely ask “Could I get off at the Post office please?” Everyone on the bus looks in my direction but no-one seems to acknowledge this. But obviously the conductor has taken note because the bus pulls to a halt and he turns round and stares at me but says nothing “Is this the post office?” “Yeah mon” so I pays my 2.50 EC dollars (about 70p) and get off the bus. My knuckles having lost their sun tan.

Parcel collected, I see a bakery across the road and decide whilst I'm here I might as well get some bread (actually it was a bottle store and I wanted gin but bread sounds better). Vitalled up, I cross back over the road and stand waiting in the shade of a tree for the number 2 bus back to Woburn. (A trick learned in Singapore - always stand in the shade - in the UK it's a rare experience to stand in the sun so very pleasurable.) Several buses fly past – very strange no-one seems to want to stop and pick me up. I see another number 2 coming and, taking my life in my hands, run out into the road – well step down from the pavement – but as the bus slows down a little and I call out “Woburn?” the conductor shakes his head and just says “Next one.” This goes on for a while until a kind gentleman who has been sitting on a bench across the road watching this, comes to my aid "The barsses won't starp here cos this is outside the pohlice station – go back dare mon" and indicates a space further along the road. I move to the indicated spot (no tree) and eventually along comes a number 2 but it's full “Next one.” I wait for the next one and even better it has a lady conductor – this should be a bit more of a sedate drive. I don't know if I've mentioned it before but the conductors are the marketers for the buses – they hang out of the windows and shout/whistle/scream at passers by to get them on to the bus. Now this lady really wanted to earn her keep that day so was no different – in fact she was urging the driver to overtake all the other buses so they could get to the passengers first. It was with some relief that I tapped on the roof of the bus as my stop approached……………….


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