Busing Among the Palms

We were planning to move from Los Angeles to Miami, where I had inherited a better car. So we sold the one we had, only to have our plans delayed by a year. The City of the Angels features 24-hour service on certain routes, with parallel such routes often miles apart. Still, you can get around if you have to. It’s a pretty interesting ride at 3 a.m. One time I heard a voice behind me registering between man and woman. Curiousity got the better of me and I turned around. Still couldn’t tell. A guy on crutches challenged me to get off and fight him. As early as 11 p.m., exhausted Latinos fought sleep returning from their second or third jobs in the far-off fashionable Westside.

The most interesting segment was when I was taking my family back from Culver City after seeing fireworks one Fourth of July. A prostitute took a cell call, and in a loud voice interviewed a new prospective client and then set up a meeting, clearly stating her address and apartment number within earshot of 40 or 50 people, many of whom understood at least a little English.

I endured the two-hour-and-fifteen-minute ride from the county line to downtown Miami a couple times. To keep the young folk from ripping up the seats, they provide sitting accomodations made of hard plastic. I had to abandon the practice due to a lack of meat on my own seat. I walked around as if crippled for a week after the last such trip. South Florida also has a commuter train called the Tri-Rail, as it serves three counties. My son and I found nowhere to purchase tickets one Sunday, and were socked with a $50 fine when the rent-a-cop went through the train verifying payment. Two weeks later, we won a vacation in the Orlando area from the agency that runs the line. The prize included two nights in a very nice suite hotel and eight admission tickets to our choice of the major theme parks. But getting the 220 miles to the theme park area was our problem, as was food, which was priced 60-100% above that available in town…25 miles away. I told my mother I wasn’t sure I could afford to win many more contests.

Still, when it works out, the bus is a wonderful way to get around. My biggest problem has always been that you can get just about anywhere in the early evening, but there’s no way to get home until the next morning in many cases.

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