Bus-a-Move – Global Outings™

Here a little treatise on “How to Survive a 20+ hour Bus Ride.” I recently had a refresher course on my 26-hour bus ride between Alice Springs and Darwin.

You know, the ride where recently sprung convicts were escorted on the bus; the ride that stopped at the local hospital to transport patients complete with bandages, crutches, and hacking coughs; the ride that stopped at 3:00 am in the morning so the driver could have his break and deliver the mail in Tennant Creek, while we waited at the station parking lot in the dark. That bus ride.

But I digress. What I really want to relay is how to best survive such an “adventure.” Here’re some helpful tips:

  1. · Control Liquid Intake: Really, I’m not kidding. Put the water bottle down. Stop drinking coffee. If you need to whet your whistle, chew a little gum.
  2. · Arrive early to nab a window seat. This is not just so you can enjoy the scenic beauty flying by, but you can then control the all-important airflow, especially if there are windows that you can actually open. In hot countries like say, Uganda, this is key to get — if not fresh air — at least semi-moving air.
  3. A window seat also allows you to control the light. This is extremely valuable if you want to close the shades so you can sleep or work on your computer, or open the shades if you want to read.
  4. Let me repeat: Do not under-estimate the important of controlling the window.
  5. · Bring playthings: Books, Sudoku, online scrabble, fully charged iPod
  6. · Dress in Layers: Buses are either very cold or very hot. There is no middle ground here. I usually wear 5 layers: camisole, button up, long-sleeved sweater, vest, scarf. I also bring my inflatable pillow.
  7. · Don’t Forget the Earplugs: For those lovable but loud Italians, loquacious bus drivers and your neighbor’s techno music.

Buses are truly my favorite way to travel. It’s cheap, you get to see the countryside, and meet the locals (even if they are only out of bail).

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2011 and is filed under What to Pack.

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