The Amphibious Port Bus

Bus turning onto a flooded road

Bus turning onto a flooded road

The Port bus is a slow, bumpy, muddy ride during the rainy season and a great example of the durability of these old buses (and their riders). A 1994 Blue Bird transit style was making the run on the day I rode, one day after some moderately heavy rain. Once we crossed to the west of Central America Blvd., many stretches of the route were more water than road. The bus avoided getting stuck, since there seemed to be enough gravel under the ponds, but it was a slow trip.

Carlos (see below) explained that over the past few years, a government sponsored dredging project at Belize City’s southern deepwater port has interfered with drainage in the surrounding residential areas. Currently, cruise ships dock offshore east of the city, and their passengers are ferried to the shallow Tourism Village dock on smaller boats; with sufficient dredging, the cruise companies will be able to save their customers time and money by docking directly at the city’s southern port.

Flooded road

Flooded road

Seaweed Shake

Bringing a cooler of shakes to the bus

Bringing a cooler of shakes to the bus

When possible, I sit towards the back of the buses I ride, primarily to minimize the number of people who see me take out my camera when I photograph the surroundings. On the King’s Park bus the other day, sitting in the back also led to a refreshing surprise. Near the University of Belize, we stopped for a woman pushing a handcart loaded with a cooler up to the bus. She opened the emergency exit door in the back, and a boy who was sitting in the back got out and helped her load the cooler onto the bus. They were having a problem getting the handcart around the spare tire in the aisle at the back of the bus, so I helped maneuver it.

When the bus arrived at its terminus downtown, the woman asked me for some help, since the other boy had alighted earlier. I stepped out the back, and brought her cargo to the sidewalk. She opened the cooler and said, “Thank you, would you like a seaweed?” I wanted to be polite, so I took one of the small unlabeled bottles filled with a thick, white drink. A bit of research revealed it to be a seaweed shake – a chilled mix of condensed milk and cinnamon thickened by the carrageenan from blended seaweed. I tried it and found it enjoyable; I can understand why the drink, which reminded me of a thick horchata, is a local favorite in the tropical heat.

E90 Update – Trip to the Bus Yard

Thomas Saf-T-Liner C2

For my E90 senior engineering design project, I will be working on pollution reduction at the local school bus yard.  I enjoyed my first visit to the bus yard, and it was great to learn about some of the particulate filtration systems already in use.

No Idling Sign

Singing Bus Drivers

Los Angeles MTA Metro Local Bus

Los Angeles MTA Metro Local Bus

A few weeks ago, I moved up to Los Angeles to start work on greenRELAY, my Lang Opportunity Scholarship project.  On my rainy commute last week, my bus driver was singing “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” incessantly.  It was amusing, but nowhere near as good as the New York MTA’s Christopher Dolan.

It Wasn't Me

Even though I was still in Southern California when this bus was stolen, I promise I had nothing to do with it.

NJCL Convention: Day Zero

After a twelve hour bus journey with nearly fifty high schoolers, I have arrived at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  I will be here for the week attending the 55th annual National Junior Classical League Convention.  This is my fifth convention, and my first as a chaperone…in loco parentis anyone?  I will try to post updates throughout the week.

Trip to New York

Manhattan

I went to New York over the weekend.  I traveled between Boston’s South Station and New York’s Chinatown on Lucky Star, my bus line of choice.  The trip down was easy, and I met my friend Joe for dinner in Little Italy.  We then met some friends of mine from Swarthmore for a movie in SoHo before going out to Roosevelt Island for the night.  Saturday morning, Joe and I explored Roosevelt Island before wandering out to Flushing Meadows/Corona Park.  I spent the rest of my time in Central Park before heading back up to Boston.  It was a very enjoyable trip.  Travel went well (some of my easiest bus trips yet – not having the extra leg to Philly makes all the difference) and I got to take the A, E, F, and 7 trains.  Some pictures of the trip are here.

Bus Backup

Walking home tonight, a Transit Police truck blocked a 44 bus from turning right from Ruggles onto Tremont.  The resulting chaos was fun to observe.  I think this was the first time I’ve seen an MBTA bus have to drive in reverse.