Friday, April 4, 2008

Meet The Tick, or, How to Cross 4 States In A 4-Day Round Trip! - The 12-hour Bus Trip

Now with Junior dropped off, JD dropped me off at the bus station for the upcoming 12hr ride to Ocala, FL.

It didn't start off badly...until we reached Atlanta...

For starters, Atlanta's bus station is a stone's throw away from the city jail. There's a bail bonds joint and a "house of gentlemen's entertainment" across from it on the other side--in other words, not exactly the best side of town!

We arrived late, and waited about another 30min or so for them to decide to finally take our bags off of the bus (which is silly because *everyone* on the bus had to get off...). I walked into the terminal about 10min before my connecting bus to Ocala was scheduled to leave.

Now, I've seen bus stations in Cincinnati, Columbus, Canton, Akron, and many cities in between. None of them prepared me for the absolute war zone that is the Atlanta bus station at nearly Midnight! There were people everywhere, and no one seemed to have any idea where we were supposed to go, but were all too happy to bark orders to get us out of their hair. Once I figured out where I was supposed to be, I waited for them to let us back out to catch a bus (even more silly because several people had tons of bags that they had had to lug up several ramps and were now going to have to take them back down to a bus). Once my bus was called, I was startled to see that they had overbooked the bus, leaving a full busload of people--including me--standing in front of the door wondering why they'd just shut it in our faces without saying anything. After another 30min of waiting to hear what they were going to do with us, they finally opened the door and herded us onto another bus.

Our driver was seriously on a short fuse (I'm guessing he hadn't planned on having to drive a bus to Florida). In fact, he actually pulled the bus over off of I-75 and came back to yell at everyone at about 1am because he thought that someone was playing with the little footrests that retract from the seat in front of each passenger! In addition, he got very irate with a passenger who, not having a very good understanding of English, didn't get off the bus at the right stop and had to get off and wait for the next bus to drive him back--unfortunately, that stop was in Tifton, Georgia, and the next one wasn't until we crossed into Florida!

I arrived very tired and grimey in Ocala 4 minutes early at 6:26am--apparently, our driver's rude behavior was good for something...

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