Saturday, September 23, 2006

The ride

For over a month now, I’ve been taking the bus from Mia Road to Pioneer St. on my way to the office. There’s really nothing wrong and surprising with that, but most people who would care to ask of my choice of conveyance en route to the office will find that impractical, when the MRT is there to take me from Pasay/Taft to Boni Avenue in all of 12 minutes. Give or take a few 5 minutes for the jeepney ride from Baclaran to the first station of the train. That’s about 15-20 minutes and five pesos savings in contrast to the bumpy bus ride. But it’s those extra 20 or so minutes which bring me joy in my bus trip.

I have nothing against the MRT. In fact, I would have joined its fans club had there been one established for that blue-and-white roller coaster. Though after over a year of daily taking the MRT to and from the office, what I regarded as the best thing that happened to EDSA (okay, next to the two Revolutions, maybe) has somehow lost its novelty. What with its calculated stops and gos, cold safety handle bars, and it's, uh, fast speed. The ride has gradually turned to a numbing experience, especially in the morning when people are so quiet as if talking was not allowed inside the train coaches. Had it not been for their occasional wincing or coughing, train patrons could be mistaken for robots, the integrated circuits of which command them to form neat files as they make their way out of the train onto the automated exits.

Taking the bus adds more flavor to my morning journey to Ortigas Center. My adventure starts with chancing upon my favorite bus, Jayross Lucky Seven Tours, one that could pass for a tourist bus with its soft seats and spacious leg room, while the MRT only provides hard plastic seats which would leave your butt hardened with callous if you sit on it frequent enough. My bus easily zips right through the light, EDSA morning traffic, making only a few stops to pick-up and drop-off passengers, but mostly more of the latter along Arnaiz and Ayala Avenue.

Its next major stop would then be in Guadalupe, the point of convergence of central Makati (?) residents to reach their respective destinations. Rabid drivers haul their buses here like it was there only weapon in the battle for passengers trickling to the bustling side walk. This stretch of EDSA abounds in shops of all sorts and vendors of variety , and where traveling by foot could get more challenging as the day unfurls. Unfortunately this place has also become a haven for pickpockets. A “gangstas’ paradise,” is the way I describe it to my colleague who passes by the area everyday.

Drivers hit the gas pedal once more as they get past the traffic guy in blue, stopping occasionally to collect a few more passengers at the foot of the Guadalupe bridge. The bus breezes over the Pasig River , an apartelle, and a mall, and hits the brakes at the corner of Pioneer St. This would be my stop where I alight the bus by jumping to the sidewalk, struggle a bit to catch my balance, and hear the bus speed away, as if saying good-bye and finding pleasure for having taken me for another ride.

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