nicole rademacher

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Washington Wasn't Only a President

I arrived at the station and the turquoise charter bus was running. The driver, and the man that always rides with him, were outside waiting. There were impatient looks on their faces. Did they know I was coming? How could they be waiting for me?

"Montevideo?" they asked.

I confirmed, ready to hand over my luggage.

"Primero coche?"

Hmmm. Primero coche? I hadn't checked. I was too concerned with waking myself up at 4am and waiting for Washington (the Brazilian taxi driver) a little impatiently, than to check my ticket for all the specifics of my voyage. I searched through my purse for my ticket, and there it was "Segundo Coche."

"No," I said, "Segundo."

So, I waited. It was already 5 minutes after the time of departure. There seemed to be a bit of confusion amongst the two men outside and the man behind the counter inside.

The station (if you want to call it that) was pretty bare. Besides the poster of the schedule, printed in large lettering with uniquely 80s graphic design on the right wall as you walk in, there was nothing. About 30 feet from the entrance were the counters. I guess all that space was originally intended for long lines, but at 5am on the last Saturday of the high season in a rather sleepy border town, there were no lines. There were only three men trying to figure out if they had another man's cell phone number.

As I waited outside, I zoned out for a while reading the posters, on the windows, telling of festivals and some group that has been around for twelve years that will be performing the following Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. When I came to, the two men were hopping in the bus.

The short stout one yelled to me, [say the following phrase as if they were English words) "Dga vee-en-ay!" (¡Ya viene! - Spanish translation) [It's on its way! - English translation]

Yet, five minutes after the Primer Coche had left, the Segundo had still not arrived. I started to get a little worried that I hadn't understood, or rather, that I had misunderstood. Then it occurred to me that they had taken advantage of the "gringa": now, I would have to buy another ticket to Montevideo. But these people aren't mean-spirited, I thought to myself. And what would they have gained from this trap?

Just then a Radio Taxi arrived out of nowhere and out popped Washington, as if to confirm the thought I had just had. I told him about the two Coches for the 5am bus. He looked concerned, but didn't have time to say anything. My eyes had wandered behind him to the turquoise charter bus rounding the small street corner.

I thanked him again as he got in his taxi. I can only assume that he went back home to get some more sleep.

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