30 Days of Indie Travel- Day 22…TRANSIT (An ode to the #30 Bus)

BootsnAll says: The word travel comes from a French word meaning “work” and sometimes, getting there is work. Between crowded buses, long airline delays, overnight trains and crazy rickshaw rides, transportation can be stressful, but it can also be a rewarding part of the tip. Tell us about a time when the journey became more important than the destination.

It was just a bus. No different to all the other buses in Old Town Transit Centre. Nothing special. I mean, there were hundreds of them.

But there was something about #30. Magic happened on that bus. It made some of my journeys more memorable than the destinations it took me to.

During my 3 months in San Diego, I made a friend. (I know, pretty shocking). She lived about 40 minutes north of me, in well-to-do La Jolla. Right next to the University where she worked.

#30 was the bus to her.

This bus was home to some of the most “interesting” people in San Diego and made my trips incredibly enjoyable. On one occasion, just before the doors closed, two young guys jumped onto the bus. Out of breath and laughing. They sat next to me. One was carrying a full-sized keyboard under his arm as casually as if it had been a book.

Keyboard guy turned to his companion and said: “Man!! That was awesome! The feds nearly had you!”

His comrade looked sheepish and replied: “They did get me actually. Look.”

He produced a court order to show his new friend (they did not know each other). Apparently Sheepish Guy had jumped onto the train tracks (which you have to by-pass to get to the bus) in his rush to get the #30. He had nearly been taken out by a passing tram and the transit police had not been happy campers.

Keyboard Guy looked suitably impressed. “That’s hard-core, man”.

They exchanged pleasantries for a while before vowing to meet up to “hang” some time. Sheepish Guy got off at Pacific Beach.

It was just me and Keyboard Guy.

Without his new bud to distract him, he quickly grew bored. He turned to look at me, sizing me up for potential criminality. Obviously disappointed, he began absent-mindedly testing a few notes on his keyboard and playing jingles.

“You probably think I’m weird, right?”

I replied (honestly) that I’d seen much worse.

“Man! Where are you from? Cool accent!”

Groaning on the inside (this would not be good), I told him I was Irish.

His eyes lit up. He straightened up in his seat a little and then proceeded to bang out the Irish national anthem on his keyboard at an implausibly loud volume. It went on forever and he threw in a few “diddly”s for good measure.

Oh. Dear. God.

People just getting on the bus looked at him tiredly, assuming we were some sort of double-act.

When the time came for him to go, he made me promise to come visit him at the bar where he worked, where he would play more “Irish music”. I told him I wouldn’t miss it for the world and waved him out.

Scene of the crime

However, by far my favourite conversation on that bus happened when I was with three other girls. The bus being pretty full, we sat towards the back. We quickly realised why those seats had been empty. We were directly in front of a guy who just sweated a “I’m going to talk crap at you for the entire journey” vibe.

He lived up to our expectations. We were just passing the university when he decided to strike up a conversation.

“So girls, do you go to UCSD?”

Being quite fond of talking to strangers to pass the time, I was the one to answer him in the negative. (I was attending college in Galway at the time).

His face instantly changed. He looked annoyed.

“Jesus. Doing nothing with your lives. No college. Bet you don’t work either. You can’t just swan away your whole life, you know”.

Taking a breath to tell him that we all had jobs, he was too quick for me.

“You know, it’s not just the black girls the po-lice push up against the hood, you know? Pretty white girls like you too.”

He began making “Wheeee-ew, wheeee-ew” noises to simulate a police siren.

I stifled a grin. Two of my friends (who tend not to enjoy these types of conversations as much as I do) got up and moved towards the front of the bus.

He yelled after them. “What’s wrong with you? Are you guys lesbians or something?”

He returned to my friend and I, determined to steer us towards the right path in life.

“If you don’t sort your lives out those po-lice are gonna come get you and smack your head off that hood. WHEEEE-EW!!! WHEEEEE-EW!!!”

Other people on the bus started to look, that subtle kind of  “I want to see what’s going on but please don’t start on me” look.

Our new friend’s loud sirening had woken up the sleeping homeless man next to him, who was not happy about this. He began throwing small wraps of tinfoil at Siren Guy.

Siren Guy was really in his element now.

“Girls, I’m just saying this so you don’t end up like me. You could end up marrying drug dealers. Or worse (he paused dramatically)


At this point, I burst out laughing. I just couldn’t help it.

Siren Guy was getting more and more agitated as the little wraps of tinfoil hit him and fell to the floor. He turned aggressively towards the homeless man and let out a roar:

“MAN, F**K OFF THROWING YOUR DRUGS AT ME! I don’t want the po-lice knocking on my door! I’ll stab you!!”.

Pointing at the homeless man, he yelled: “THIS MAN IS A DRUG DEALER!! WHEEEEEE-EW…WHEEEEEE-EW!!!”

At this point, my friend and I thought it best to leave.

We all have our limits, right?

But hey, that journey flew by. I hardly remember what I did when I got to my friend in La Jolla, but that conversation is seared into my memory forever.


Posted on November 23, 2011, in TRAVEL and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great blog! But what in the world is going on with these insane comments?? Anyways, bookmarked 😀

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