What do you like most about using public transportation in Mérida? Sometimes, taking the bus every day can become tiresome, I know this from personal experience. Even so, in all my years of taking the bus there’s something that has always fascinated me about riding on public transport: discovering the stories that happen in everyday life, every time I hop on the bus in Mérida. Do you know what I mean? Let me tell you all about it…
In my years of taking the bus, my only means of transport, I have learned to enjoy the stories about life, that we unintentionally become part of. Consciously observing my surroundings has allowed me to discover beautiful moments that happen right before my eyes, on every one of my trips around the city. Here are a few of the stories that made my day and shows the upside of riding a bus.
I have witnessed curious, tender and fun day to day events. I have learned to be always aware of what surrounds me and to enjoy any moment I can capture.
Some of these moments were as simple as when, one afternoon, at the end of the workday, I saw a mother sharing some quality time with her little daughter, laughing and hugging; another day I observed a young girl sitting next to a small tree that she carried in a bag, and that seemed ready to be planted. On another trip I noticed a girl and her piñata sharing a couple of seats, on the way to a family party.
There are other moments that repeat themselves no matter the route: bus drivers who greet the ladies of the neighborhood they drive through each day; people who fall asleep and then, unfortunately, fall from their seats when the bus makes a sharp turn; people who give their seat to the elderly or to those who need it; and students who leave school in a bunch and continue laughing and playing as if they still were at recess.
Likewise, I have had experiences that managed to cause me more than a simple smile and that made me think about how curious and complex life is. Like one time, early in the morning on my way to school – the word “early” says it all, and at that moment my mood was rather apathetic – I had been on the bus for a few minutes when a man with his guitar got on board, and started singing songs that immediately lifted my spirit and changed my frown into a smile. At that moment I remembered how beautiful the Latin culture is, and I was fascinated by the fact that in our city we can hear great music – making us instantly happy – inside a bus on a random day. To this day, I still enjoy the musicians who brighten the day of the bus passengers.
Another time, a worker from a center that helps mistreated women got on the bus and shared information about her organization with the passengers. By coincidence, there was a girl on the bus, in tears, sitting next to her boyfriend. The person from the help center noticed it and approached the girl asking if everything was okay, offering her help. At that moment I realized that in Mérida, public transport becomes another way to get closer to people and share information as valuable as that.
I know, as well, that walking to the bus stop every day can become tiring. But my secret is: to admire the sunsets after leaving work, the dogs walking through the neighborhood, or just the simple everyday life that happens before my eyes; by doing this you’ll discover that your senses will want to take advantage of every moment, and you will never want to stop discovering the gifts that life gives us.
Whether you use public transportation or not, do not doubt for a moment that it can be more than a simple trip or a tired routine; on the contrary, it can become an experience full of surprises, which by their very simplicity makes it great. Dare to discover the wonderful and small details that everyday life gives us, open your eyes, enjoy the ride and when you reach your stop, do not forget to shout, BAJAN!
Editorial by Claudia Améndola
Photography by Claudia Améndola for use in Yucatán Today