“Guaguariando” (Riding the bus) / Rebeca Monzo

In many countries in Latin America they call a small child “guagua.” But I understand that in the Canaries, the same as on our planet (surely the term came with us from there), a guagua is a bus, with the characteristic that those here are always full of people.

Today, Regina and I headed out early to ride one of these famous buses.

It was a lot of work to get on board. Once inside, we were packed in like sardines, and the man who collects the fares (substituting for the farebox), was in a hurry to charge us. This person is something new, recently introduced as a result of an article that came out in the paper saying that sixty percent of the total fare revenue is lost. It occurred to me to ask why, if they have replaced the fare boxes, they don’t do away with these busybodies who take up so much room and annoy the passengers, who can barely squeeze past them into the bus. He didn’t give me any explanation.

Again, speaking to him, I commented on the few guaguas in circulation, given how congested the stops are. He replied that there are few guaguas, and what happens is that there are a lot of people on the street. There was nothing for me to say to this, I January there will be many more people in the street when one million two hundred thousand people are laid off. A funny guy interrupted and said that those people are going to have to get licenses to be self-employed thieves. I replied that the TRD stores (hard-currency stores) already have those particular licenses. The silence was deadly. The journey continued with the usual pushing and shoving. Well what can I say? I got on the bus with jeans and a jacket, and nearly had to get off dressed like a Hawaiian!

December 14, 2010