Catching Buses

By | Category: Travel rumblings

When I go to a new destination, one way to get a feel of what the place is like is to use the bus or train service and just go out into the suburbs. You get to see how people live and what the non-touristy bits look like. So when I got to this U.S. city I’d not been too before (and no, I am not going to identify it for reasons I shall explain later) I took the public bus into the middle of the city. But one thing put me off.
Usually there are lots of signs on a bus. They are picture images telling you not to drink, not to eat; not to put your feet on the seats; not to play loud music and things like that. Well, on this particular bus there were 7 of these signs but one in particular caught my eye. It was the picture of a handgun with a red line through it which I take means don’t carry handguns on the bus. As a legitimate public service statement, I suppose it has a role although I can’t image that anyone would publically want to admit they were carrying one. For the visitor, it does make you wonder where you’ve come to. And, in fairness, the return bus didn’t have a similar sign.
Then, as I wandered around one of those yellow school buses went by. An old man with a walking stick had raised it and, using it as a fake rifle, was shooting at the students who laughed uproariously as did the other pedestrians who were around..
What does this tell me as a visitor?
I could be put off from ever visiting it again except that as I wandered around, the people were charming and helpful . The bus service was frequent and punctual and as I walked around the place in the evening I felt perfectly safe.
So if I was to name the place, it could put tourists off and that would be unfair. But perhaps the tourism officials should talk to the local bus company about the way the image of the city is portrayed.

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