Having lived outside of a city for 30 years, I have not had access or need to public transportation. If I want to go somewhere, I have to either walk or get in my car.
So it’s no wonder that I’m not overly comfortable with public transportation. I have not grown up with trains, metros, subways, rapid transit or even buses. Growing up, we lived on the south end of Winnipeg where public transportation was not a part of daily life, and it was only once I was older and attending university that I took the bus with any regularity. And that was only for a relatively short period of time.
Even though I’ve travelled a good part of the world and have now taken pretty much every mode of transportation imaginable, I admit to being not overly comfortable or pleased with the challenges and inconveniences public transport presents the traveller.
This became evident last month while in Toronto, when other members of my team happily agreed to take the “Red Rocket,” a $3 form of transportation from Pearson International Airport to my downtown hotel. We had been encouraged to take the economical form of transportation by our treasurer, whose focus on the bottom line has us all looking at ways to save the organization money. $3 versus $66 for a cab is a pretty tough argument to fight.
Unhappily, I had to stand a good portion of the way into the city. And my sweet new suitcase called a “Spinner” had a mind and life of its own with its four wheels giving it the gumption to get up and go whenever I wasn’t holding it down. I could call IT the Red Rocket!
But I did it, and saved the organization $120 on a round trip. That paid for a night’s hotel and then some, so I can certainly see the logic to being practical versus being comfortable.
As I prepare to leave for a journey that will take me to South America later this week, I can’t help but smile when I think back to the fall of 2010, when my travelling companion, Virginia (a rather small-framed woman with amazingly strong arms!) was able to run up and down the steep subway stairs touting my too-large suitcase throughout Italy as we crossed the country in search of chocolate.
To make things easier on both of us (she is accompanying me to South America) I bought the new smaller suitcase and hope that I can shlep it without sheepishly looking for help.
Below, you’ll see a picture of me in the Florence, Italy train station, where I was trying to smile after having to shlep (yes, Virginia did most of the shlepping) our luggage up and down a multitude of stairs. There was an elevator, but it was not working.
Oh, sure. I have some neat public transport stories that I’ll never forget. Like the time Reg and I took a school bus in Barbados and rode with a bunch of small children who looked at Reg as though he was Santa Claus on vacation. And the time we rode on a bus in Mexico with a bunch of chickens. Somehow I don’t remember the details of that situation. I could go on, but time is tight and I’d rather hear from you.
Have you had some interesting times on public transport? Anything particularly good or bad you’d like to share? We’re all ears.
And join me back here the week of March 26th for the next post. I’ll try and be organized and put it in the queue before I leave, but in the event that does not happen, it may be toward the end of that week as we return from the Amazon on April 1st. And hopefully, there will be many delicious stories of South American chocolate to share with you.