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    Pulau Sipidan, Malaysia

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    My Lungs Object

    June 23rd, 2007 by steve

    Most of this traveling stuff requires making the best guess you can with whatever limited information is available. Somehow things usually work out. And other times you wonder why you left the comfort of your home as you pick the roach out of your hair at 1am on a pitch dark lurching bus that’s already broken down 3 times in the first 6hrs and the engine is LITERALLY held together by a short piece of blue twine. And the only hope you have is that there’s only 13 more hours to go. But will we be able to survive the the chain smokers? We estimated that during the 19 hour, 340 mile journey (that’s 18mph) between Bukittinggi and Danau Toba in Sumatra the 20 smokers on board lit up 225 cigarrettes. Damn you, Marlboro. Of course none of the windows opened and the aircon wafted out of black holes like the breath of an old asthmatic man climbing up everest. We were in the very last seats with Steve hugging the wall of the toilet. Add that to the warm stench rising up between the seats from the engine below to make a foul olfactory soup. Even then we were better off than the dozen guys that were either passing the night on plastic stools in the aisles, spread across the floor that was dirtier than an Ethiopian refugee camp (or the back of your stove. come on, you know you’re afraid to look), or using our backpacks as cushions. Actually that last part didn’t look too bad. Somewhere in the dark pits of the mountainous Trans-Sumatran highway the bus stopped and the engine door was thrown open again. They made us give them both our headlamps to work on the engine by flashing their cigarette lighters incessantly at our sleepy eyes. Who goes on an overnight bus trip through the unlit windy roads of the Trans-Sumatran highway on a heap of third world reject parts without a flashlight? At 6am there was a mosque break. At 8am a breakfast break, where we had yet another break of a different sort. We were sleeping the pitstop while everyone had piled off when I woke up and saw smoke billowing down from an electrical fire in the already wheezing air conditioner. Oh well, I guess that means we have time to grab a bite. Another 5 hours of seeing how long I can hold my breath through the mushrooming smoke clouds and we were rolled off the back of the bus onto an empty parking lot. We were two prisoners released from jail, but we had left in such a hurry that we left Steve’s flip-flops. Who knows, maybe that too will become part of the engine before their journeys’ end.
    –Mary

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    2 Responses

    1. Dan Says:

      Were these the flip flops made of old tire? They might actually get some use out of those.

    2. Chum Says:

      It’s a pretty bus though.

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