I have the misfortune of needing to commute to work every day here in Toluca, Mexico, where I live. Most of my life I have ridden a bicycle to work or, in some special cases, walked. So I sit on the bus for an hour or two each day. Small things become interesting. Last week I wrote about how even choosing the seat is an adventure.
The entertainment isn’t over once you have your seat. Apart from the mountain views and crumpling concrete charm of this mid-sized Mexican city, entertainment boards the bus for you.
The most common performer is the singer/guitarist. Sometimes he’s a good singer, but the guitar is always out of tune. Or you get an accordion player, usually an old man who looks used to hard living. They always get my change.
I’ve seen clown shows. A whole family paints their faces and wears oversized pants and shoes. They yell and run up the aisles. Like the musicians, they have a spiel at the end asking for money.
These temporary riders aren’t strictly entertainment. Most days you see people with bags of candy. Or newspapers. They leave one on your lap. Disabled people leave a little note that explains their problem. They give their spiel and then come back for whatever they left. Just let them take it and smile if you don’t want to give money.
The buses themselves can provide the entertainment. The driver usually has a friend or two hanging out. They might be yelling at each other in loud voices, smoking cigarettes, and not paying very much attention to the road. They might get mad at another bus, cut them off, jump out and challenge the other driver to a fight. I’ve seen that happen on several occasions.
Entertainment is what you make of it.