Resolution #16.

January 31, 2012

If you have been following my updates, you have probably been able to surmise that some sort of public transportation trauma occurred early on in my Paraguay journey. As a result, I have been really hesitant about navigating the bus system on my own.

So far God has been gracious and afforded me liberal and convenient use of a car for getting around. It has been a wonderful luxury but quite frankly, also an easy cop-out. And I have learned that avoiding what you’re afraid of never solves anything, so overcoming my perhaps irrational fear of venturing out on my own in this sense is one thing I want to conquer in 2012.

As it were, a taxi hit my car while I was at church two Sundays ago and fled the scene (but did leave suspicious yellow skid marks all along the driver’s side of the vehicle). It is now in the body shop for a few days, leaving me to my own faculties for getting around.

I was supposed to meet C at a cafe I’ve been to more times than any other place in Asuncion–besides church and the grocery store. But of course, I had never taken the bus there by myself. I called S for directions, and the seemingly complicated instructions she gave me piled on the anxiety that was already forming in the pit of my stomach. I reluctantly pushed myself out the door muttering, “You got this, Lo.” I guess this entry could be tagged with Resolution #3 as well.

I strolled out to the nearest bus stop like I knew what I was doing and glared hard past anyone who dared come near me with my pepper spray at the ready. I probably sweat my body weight in liquid standing there. Fortunately, the bus I needed didn’t take long to swing by and someone in front of me waved it down, so I was also spared exposing my armpit to the world. This time.

I clambered on, paid my fare, and made sure to sit where the seats only come in single rows. I breathed a sigh of relief to have made it this far unscathed.

Then of course, after two consecutive weeks of daily weather reports predicting 90% chance of thunderstorms and not a single drop of water, it started pouring rain. Liquid started shooting through the windows, and to my dismay, people immediately started slamming them closed effectively turning the bus into one giant smelly sauna. The air was so thick I felt claustrophobic and sweat was rolling off my body like the rain was flooding from the clouds.

As my landmark for disembarkation approached, I made my way to the back and promptly pulled the cord. The bus driver kept driving. After we had passed my desired spot by a couple hundred meters, he finally started to decrease in speed. Buses here rarely come to full halts, so you really have to be on your guard to leap off at the pinnacle moment lest you miss your chance and never, ever get off. Or die.

Naturally, the bus was four feet from the nearest curb and below me was a gigantic murky puddle that looked like frothy death. There was no way I could jump safely onto the sidewalk and I didn’t exactly have a lot of time to consider other options, so I stepped right down into the cesspool of what appeared to be churning sewage. It was as warm as fresh pee and nearly soaked me to the knees.

It was still raining cats and dogs, I didn’t really know where I was going, and I was drenched, but I forged on. I fought my way to a park bench intending to roll up my jeans that were way too long for flip flops and managed to spectacularly slip. A gathering of workers in the park actually applauded my accidental double axle. Ahh.

Nonplussed (but in all reality, totally plussed), I squished on with black mascara streaking down my face. It was still a million degrees and I was aware that the humidity was not only making walking in wet denim significantly uncomfortable, I was starting to reek as well. My feet were filthy gritty and what do you know, I was still sweating.

Some creepy security guard popped out of nowhere to wave and blow a kiss at me and nearly scared the poop out of me (which probably wouldn’t have been a big deal considering I was likely covered in it anyway). At long last, the cafe tumbled into sight and it promptly stopped raining. Go figure. But I made it. Rather dirtier for the wear, but I arrived on my own two grungy feet.

And then C called and canceled…ha! Jk. Lunch was great.

Take that, January/Paraguay/2012/scaredy cat tendencies. Lo’s got this.

(100th post!)


2 Responses to “Resolution #16.”

  1. Casey Says:

    So, first off I love your diction…frothy death…cesspool. Here in VZ we prefer to call it agua negro. Secondly, I love how in your list for 2012 you write: blog at least 6 times a month and cook something new every week. I don’t seem to think that will be hard for you :)

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