My Bus Ride of Discovery last Sunday

My Bus - a great ride last Sunday

My Bus – a great ride last Sunday

About two weeks ago I posted an article about hating Sundays, which made me sorry right after. It made me feel guilty.

Because no matter how much I gripe, complain or obsess about Sundays, it will never go away unless the day is stricken off the calendar. This, of course, will generate an international upheaval because everybody loves Sundays, except I (unfortunately).

Since I can’t beat it, I thought of doing something different, and something crazy that can take my mind off my discomfort; turn my displeasure into an experience worth remembering.

So last Sunday I took a city bus ride.

It may not be such a big deal for regular city bus riders; there’s nothing new or crazy about it.

It is, for me because I have never taken a city bus all my life.

Personally, I don’t like buses. They are slow, are often crowded, and we never know who we are going to sit with. It could be someone with body odor, or a totally gross and obnoxious person.

My last bus ride, a long distance trip, was more than ten years ago. Lucky me, there were very few passengers and I sat alone the entire time.

Last Sunday was my first time. It was a 42-seater, specifically for carrying passengers between three shopping malls – a brilliant marketing strategy by the malls’ management. By providing transport, they corner a significant portion of shoppers to patronize their stores.

I couldn’t care less. All I wanted was to take my mind off a Sunday, add color to it.

And it did. I found it a very pleasant ride. It was comfortable and stress-free. I drive every day and if you don’t know how it is to drive in a third world country like mine, I tell you, you have to have the fortitude of a saint not to be stressed out.

Drivers change lanes at will without turning on their signal lights. They cut you off as if you don’t exist. Factor in those motorcycles that crisscross your path and drive on the wrong side of the yellow line and you have a driving experience nothing short of frustrating.
To my relief I did not notice or feel those aggravations. I even slept parts of the way.

First stop:

There was nothing significant in the first mall stop, SM Cebu. I have shopped there several times in past until a mall nearer my home opened a few years back.

But I loitered around for strap replacements for a couple of my watches and sate my appetite for grilled blue marlin.

I have not sunk my teeth into its soft and tasty meat for a long time. I am not a big eater but I dispatched it bit by bit, letting each piece linger in my mouth for as long as I can to allow the sensation to sink into my consciousness. It may be a long time before I have the same opportunity again.

It was simply yummy.

Second stop:

It was in SM Seaside City Cebu, the second reason for my bus trip.

SM Seaside's cavernous hallway from the Mountain Side Entrance

SM Seaside’s cavernous hallway from the Mountain Side Entrance

I have never been there yet because I didn’t want to drive the distance. The bus solved that problem.

SM Seaside City is the largest shopping mall outside of Metro Manila. Unquestionably, it is the largest in Cebu.

The entire complex sits on a 30-hectare lot and has 470,490 sq m of leasable space.

Up until last Sunday, my idea of its size was from stories of friends who have been there. My visit dwarfed my expectations.

It is simply huge that it has golf carts running along its hallways to carry shoppers around the mall.

But I didn’t take it. I was there to walk around, explore, observe and get my mind off a Sunday.

I looked into the display windows of some stores, went into a few to have a closer look of what they were selling. I was not in a buying mood though.

For an hour or so, I was lost to myself and became a part of a huge crowd of people eating in restaurants, checking out items from store to store, fitting them, or paying for them.

I was with teenagers sitting on its shiny and clean floors, huddled together sharing a few good and loud laughs, and taking selfies.

I flowed with the crowd like a flotsam carried by the ocean’s tide – here, there, everywhere, directionless and aimless.

My stupor ended when my knees shouted, “Enough. Give us some rest.”

After pausing for a few minutes on a nicely cushioned seat, I decided it was time to take a ride in the opposite direction.

Dragging my legs, which were about to gave way under my aging weight, I trudged back to the bus station to call it a day.

Third and final stop:

I got back to Parkmall, my regular haunt and starting point, almost 4pm – roughly six hours after I started my bus trip.

With one painful step after the other, I went to my favorite coffee shop for a mug of brewed coffee. Taking care not to twist my knees the wrong way, I slowly settled my aching lower back of a chair.

After taking a deep sip, I thought of things that transpired during my bus ride and gave out a smile of satisfaction and relief.

You see, for the past couple of weeks I have been experiencing a dull pain on my upper right chest. I feared for something ominous. My bus ride proved me wrong. My heart can still take some beating, yet keeps on beating.

As much as we, seniors, would like to settle for a life of relaxed satisfaction, occasionally we have the urge to do something outside of our daily routine. We want to go someplace, explore, try new things and new experiences.

What keeps us from going for it is fear.

We fear of going out of our comfort zone, of spending, of getting lost, of ridicule from our families or close friends. We fear of failure.

I feel the same way, too. But I also fear that I may never be able to do what I like to do in my waning years. So I just get up and go, and prove my fears wrong.

We have been through a lot in life. We are veterans. There is nothing that can surprise us anymore.

Is there? What about white-water rafter or bungee jumping? I plan to do the former within the year but I can’t stand heights, so the latter is outside of the question.

What about you? If you are not a regular bus rider, give it one go. You will enjoy it.

Any comment? Please join the fray.