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Journal Entries

Bus driver, crete, greece 2011

Stella Johnson

I took a bus from Chania to Anogia, a village in the mountains of Crete. I expected a recycled yellow American school bus like the ones I had ridden in Mexico and Central America. I was wrong. This was a fresh new luxury coach, with comfortable upholstered seats. The roads snake around the edges of the mountains. Great views, of course, and a mild nausea that goes with the possibility of plunging off a precipice, or meeting another car head on at a blind curve. Village streets barely accommodate the scale of our bus. Because these streets were intended for transportation by donkey. In fact, on one curve, the driver gets out of the bus, removes his oversize rear-view mirror, attaches a smaller version, returns to his seat, drives around a corner, stops the bus again, gets out and switches back to the oversize mirror.

This driver excels at being busy and driving an obstacle course. He seems to take a precise pride in squeezing through tight spots and assuming responsibility for a long list of demands. He's the man - chain smoking, talking on a cell phone, helloing his regulars by their first names, dropping off mail to post offices on his route, serving as an adhoc "UPS/Fed Ex" guy, watching over the round-trip comings and goings of about 25 children who attend schools as far as two hours from their homes. No missing brats, no dents, or scratched paint jobs. He might even love this job.

In Anogia, the driver dropped me off in front of my hotel, not at the bus stop. He just does that. Welcome to Greece.

Stella Johnson