This week marks the start of our classes at ACM. Classes start at 8:00 every morning so I have to get up very early. Yesterday my host mom walked me to the bus stop in Moravia (about a 15 minute walk from our house) and pointed out all the landmarks I should look for. On the bus we met up with two other students and one of their moms. I was very relieved to see that I would be traveling with two friends as I am not very experienced with public transportation. When we got off the bus our hosts moms walked us to ACM (about a 25 minute walk) and left us for the day. They met us in the afternoon and walked us back to another bus stop and quizzed us on our memory of the way back. My host mom even drove me around the block when we got home to make sure I knew where I was going.
Pictured are my bus buddies: Amelia and Yula
This morning, after reassuring my mom that I remembered what to do, I set out on my own to the bus stop. I passed all the landmarks and went to stand under the correct sign. After about 10 minutes the bus arrived and I boarded. I checked my phone and read the text from Amelia that the bus was very full and I’d probably have to stand. I looked around the nearly empty bus I was on and deducted that we were not on the same bus. We decided I would wait at the bus stop for them to arrive and we would walk the rest of the way together. This was a little disheartening, but I remained calm and kept my eyes open for the landmarks and my bus stop as the bus filled.
After about a 40 minute ride I saw that my stop was coming up next. I saw another student from ACM standing on the corner and I was happy I could wait with her. I stood up and told a woman she could have my seat as I was about to get off…but it kept driving. I tried to hide my panic as I shared an awkward look from the woman and rang the bell to alert the driver to stop… but it kept driving. Eventually, we arrived at the next stop and I got off and started to walk in the opposite direction toward the correct bus stop (about a 10 minute walk). I arrived at the same time as the next bus with Amelia and Yula. I waited… but they did not get off. I checked my phone and saw that they had gotten off at another stop, from the advice of Yula’s host brother, and would meet me on the way.
Despite my lack of experience with public transportation and tendency to get lost, I made it to ACM just in time for class and only a little windblown and sun-burnt. My mistake? The buses will only stop at the bus stops if you ring the bell before the stop.
It was quite a morning! Just wait, by the end of 4 months I will be an expert in getting around Costa Rica!