Thursday, April 22, 2010

Micros will be micros...

Today it took me two and a half hours to get home from work on the bus.

The whole way home I was thankful for 3 things for sure:
1. At the last minute I decided to go to the bathroom before getting on the bus
2. Despite not waiting around for him, a coworker ended up on the same bus because I waited so long for one to pass that he caught up.
3. That I was not involved in whatever was holding up traffic.

I think about things like that last one often. Today was the biggest traffic jam I have experienced yet in Chile, and I have been stuck in more than my share. Traffic was backed up til the mall in Vina, and similarly far away from other angles. That doesn't sound too shocking without any context. Where was the accident? On Avenida España near the Industrial High School!!!
i.e. (for those unfamiliar with the Viña/Valpo layout) FAAARRRR AWAY

We basically went over a whole coastal mountain because traffic going towards Valparaiso on the oceanfront was shut completely down.

Though quite used to it, I am still uncomfortable with how dangerous public transportation is here. Although a little freaked out by crazy lane changing when I got here, my fear really established itself when I saw a micro had crashed into a neighbor´s house. Furthermore, the busses are often in bad condition, drivers are irresponsible, and the different busses compete for passengers. They race, they cut one another off, they pull close-call moves, etc... Last Sunday the driver of the bus I was on and the one next to us started playing a game of chicken, almost slamming into each others side until they started throwing things at each other through the window, then stopped in the middle of the road, got out of the busses, and began the physical threats...
These series of ridiculous events are not a unique experience and I, unfortunately, have racked up an archive of crazy micro stories.

The order of what I was most thankful for swapped around quite a bit after I saw the news article with photos on the accident, which happened just about exactly where a similar accident happened a year and a half ago.


  1. Can I just say that the last micro story is so ridiculous (and dangerous) that it's kind of awesome? I mean, it's crappy that the drivers would be so unprofessional and show such a lack of concern for public safety, but omg, that's funny.

  2. Avenida Espana in a micro is one of the scariest experiences I've ever had! One of the first times I took the bus from Valpo to Vina alone I was the only person on the bus and the driver was going so fast around the curves that I literally was falling off my seat, clutching to the one in front of me to stay on. I thought I was going to die. Anyhoo, I'm glad you are ok and that you made it home eventually! It would have been quicker to walk! :)

  3. Holy cow, I just looked at those the heck they they crash??? It seems to be head-on because both fronts of the micros were smashed. After Claire's experience in a micro accident and a couple of close calls, I never let me guard down when riding a micro. Thankfully when I go to Viña now I don't ever have to take them, but for the year I did.....I always held on tight and paid attention to what was happening. Poor passengers!!!

  4. Yeah, they crashed head on. Am I right in thinking, Lydia, that one crossed the central reservation to hit an oncoming one? I was only half watching the news... it can get a bit much.

    Fortunately, I got the metro home yesterday. There were sirens going when I came out of work so metro it was. But the traffic was manic. I've never heard so many horns in my life....

    I also swear that whenever I get on a micro, I get bitten. Ugh.

  5. And now we have a massive forest fire going up on Borinquen. The smoke is quite impressive. Hopefully it won't play more havoc with the traffic!

  6. And Luis laughs at me when I tell him that taking buses there freaks the crap out of me. I think it's bad especially when they drive on Avda. España *Shudder*

  7. oh my freaking god...please don't get back on...thats the worst I have seen!