Friday, November 6, 2009

jump on board! riding the colectivo tutorials

I have many friends here in BA who have recently arrived and who are basically terrified to ride the buses. I mean, I don't blame them. The colectivos, as they are called, are notoriously loud and obnoxious beasts that spew black clouds of smoke as they hurtle violently from one stop to the next. From the ground, they are most definitely fear-inspiring, almost like facing a herd of stampeding wildebeest coming down a gorge (and we all know how that one turned out--thanks Disney!) Anyway, what with the size and the noise and blatant lack of regard for anything in their paths, combined with the stress of not knowing which line to take or where the stops are or how to pay, buses are clearly an intimidating option for general transportation.

However, they are also the best option, at least in my opinion. There are about 200 different lines that run in GBA and CapFed (actually there are a lot more, but numbers 1 through 200 are the most relevant for the average porteño/a), and between them they cover almost every block in the city. Additionally, they have windows. In the coming summer months, I guarantee you are not going to want to be underground in a little metal tube crammed with sweating Argentines. Just going down the steps into a subte station in January is like descending to the bowels of hell, only with BO instead of brimstone. And really, once you figure the system out and know a few tricks, the buses are actually really easy to ride. No excuses!!

Personally, I refused to ride the buses for the first few weeks I was here, because I was petrified at the thought of getting on one and ending up in Quilmes, or worse, in "Provincia"...the horrors! But, after doing some research online and reading some helpful articles, I got over myself, got on the 132, and the rest is history. So, for all those out there who are still (justifiably) intimidated by the colectivos, I've decided to write some tutorials on how to use the BA bus system. We'll be starting at the beginning, with the mother of all guidebooks: the GUIA-T! (cue clouds opening, ray of sunlight, choir of angels).

Talk about cliffhanger, eh? Stay tuned: Guia-T post will be up later tonight!

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