During the festive break, I decided to take a trip to my hometown of Bulawayo, which is 6 hours away from Harare. I woke up at the crack of butt to get to the bus that leaves at 7:30am. Obviously, I had not made a booking. Why book a bus in advance and risk missing it right?
As I sat in the lobby abusing the free WiFi waiting for the bus people to arrive, I was very excited to be travelling back home. I had just bought my nephew feeding bottles that I was dying to give to him. When the staff finally arrived, I overheard them telling the crowd of people who I was sitting with that the bus was in fact full.
I was so hyped up on excitement, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
But I was clever, I stayed behind when they all left to find other modes of transport. I was gonna wait for a no-show and take their seat on the bus. People always miss the bus, right?
So here I am, an hour later and I still haven’t a ride to Bulawayo. In comes this girl with a backpack and trainers. She too had not booked her bus. She takes the news like a G and heads out to seek alternative modes of transport. Following her was my only chance.
I ran after her and quickly told her that I am in the same predicament as her and that I needed to be in Bulawayo at all costs.
She took me to the Harare show grounds.
I was never ready!
We hopped into the first bus that we saw, but it was fine though, cause it read ‘LUXURY’ on the side.
I walked in and we sat next to a very handsome man. It was going to be an awesome 6 hours.
If I had a $1 for everytime I was wrong…
This bus allowed hawkers. It was a hawkers convention. They came in with their wares in boxes dripping of something or another. They ALL brushed against me in the aisle seat almost knocking my guardian angel over. But it was okay, we were leaving. The hawkers then all disembarked as the bus took off. To Bulawayo we went. Full steam ahead (literally.)
The entertainment came on, it was music I was not used to. I can’t describe it without coming across as tribalist (that’s what it all comes down to in Zimbabwe.) They played it on loop and the speakers were all fully functional. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse than that music, it did. The music went dead and before I could rejoice, a man stood up and started giving his sales pitch about Greenworld and everything else he was selling.
Lord let the bus roll over now and may there be no survivors.
We arrived in Kwekwe where most people dropped off. What a relief!
More people got on to replace them plus standing passengers.
And now I am sitting next to an old woman who is carrying a live white chicken. I was fighting the urge to give her the side eye but her chicken had no manners at all. It stared at me the whole bus ride like I was the Christmas dinner. I glanced over and caught the old woman staring at me. I wanted to confront her but I held my peace.
Well because she was old, wearing a traditional metal wrist band and carrying an all white chicken. What’s to stop her from using her monochromatic chicken to curse me instead. Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking it too. Why carry a live chicken across Zimbabwe certainly not to get to the other side.
We picked up more passengers along the way until there was a barricade of bums between me and the chicken lady. I couldn’t decide what was worse. The bums or the chicken. And everytime the bus stopped abruptly I risked kissing as on a literal.
I decided to not focus on the issues from the aisle side and to concentrate on the handsome man we were sitting with. He was finally awake and his phone was dead. He was all mine! I asked him to open the window as an icebreaker and quickly followed through with a joke. He chuckled. I was in there!
He then started a conversation with my new travel buddy. Wait! What? She has a man. That’s why she is actually travelling to Bulawayo. I was gutted and trapped between a rock and a hard place with “Go back to sender” playing in the background.
It was then I realised a few of life’s lessons
• All that says luxury is not luxury
• You must book a bus beforehand to avoid disappointment
• There’s a reason why luxury buses cost a little more (You get what you pay for.)
• Don’t travel with a girl hotter than you
• Don’t sit by the aisle seat
What are some of your outrageous travel horror stories?