I had a pretty sketchy night last Friday. And I blame it on the Greyhound bus system, every single bit of sketch on Greyhound.
Take almost any city around the world- Tokyo, middle of nowhere China, Paris, Bogota…you can easily catch a bus and go anywhere you want to go. You just go to the station, purchase a ticket, and hop on. Usually the buses are a safe way to travel and fairly cheap.
This is not the case in the good ol’ US of A. Most of us don’t take long-distance public transportation. It’s really uncommon and can actually be expensive. We are a car nation, unlike many other countries where public transportation is the norm.
Want to take a train in the US? If you take Amtrak round trip from Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC, it can cost you $197! And that’s if you live in a big city that actually has a train system. In the small city in which I live, there are no trains to anywhere. You would actually have to go to Pittsburgh to take a train.
If you want to take a Greyhound bus, it’s a bit cheaper. $58 to go from the capital city of West Virginia to Lexington, Kentucky. It’s usually a 3.5 hour journey by car but takes almost 10 hours by bus. I have helped 2 of my international friends take buses here in the US, and they’ve both had trouble and were a little scared of the whole experience.
Recently, I took a Japanese friend to catch a Greyhound bus here in town. She tried to describe to me where the bus station was. Well, it turns out it was in a defunct CVS parking lot in the bad part of town. I told her I would wait with her until the bus arrived. We witnessed quite a few strange things while waiting. First, a car pulled up beside us and the guy in it tried to talk to us. I yelled at my friend not to look at him and keep the window up. I was confused about what was going on, but then another car pulled up to his, they both got out, handed each other something, and then left. It struck me! He didn’t know who he was buying drugs off of, and he thought I was it! Someone tried to buy drugs off me! If you know me at all, that’s pretty laughable.
Later on, we saw an old man walking around with no shoes carrying a bag of chips and a glass of water. I don’t know what was up with that. And then a woman approached us, the only other person waiting in the dark parking lot. She was from Finland and had been backpacking the US. (Although I don’t know why she ended up in small town, West Virginia.) She told us she had been waiting in that parking lot since 2 pm hoping any bus would come through and she could hop on. It was 10pm, and not a single bus had come. After THREE HOURS of waiting for my friend’s bus, we finally left. It never showed! And since there was no real station, we couldn’t ask anyone about it or get a refund or anything. It was so frustrating! I’m so glad I didn’t just drop her off!
So, the lesson learned here… if you are ever looking to score drugs, don’t ask me!
I’m getting ready to go on an exciting journey to Taiwan and South Korea for work. I’ll do my best to blog all about it. Be on the lookout!