Saturday, March 13, 2010

No. 0057 - Smooth Braking Assistance

I few weeks ago, I was returning back to Hong Kong from a remote village in China as I found myself on a bus ride that have inspired this invention. In fact, I was mentally writing this as I was stuck in this "less than ideal" situation. Let me explain.

It has been 3 days since I've been visiting the more remote parts of China. Though I had a great trip in the Kaiping county seeking out my ancestors, I was ready to head back home to Hong Kong. I was tired, out of fresh laundry and was ready to head back to civilization. However, what stood between me and Hong Kong was this 4 hour bus ride. Since it was the end of a weekend, a lot of people were trying to head down as well. Needless to say, the bus was packed. The bus trip started out fine and we were cutting through traffic like a hot knife through a stick of butter. However, my joyride ended about 2 hours later when I woke up to a dead stop. Traffic Jam!! I'm typically pretty optimistic about traffic jams but this one is an absolute doozy. What made this even worse is that I've realize the bus driver can't drive for the life of him. He doesn't seem to know how to ease the gas and brake pedals. He would gun it for 3 inches to come to a screeching halt. He guns it enough that you would feel the pressure in the back of your seat and he would brake enough that you would lean forward. Imagine this for the following 3 hours of your life. It was miserable.

It is now 7pm and already 1 hour behind schedule. Still stuck in the traffic jam and I was starting to get a bit hungary 'cause it was dinner time. Out of no where I smelled this cheese like smell which triggered me to crave lasagna (I've been away from the states for almost 2 weeks at this point and I was pretty sick of Chinese food). But right at that moment, in the cabin of this quiet bus, I heard this noise that send chills down my spine, it sounded like this "uuururrrrghhhg, uuururrrghhg, rrrurrghurhg!". That wasn't cheese!! Someone is blowing chunks on the bus because the bus driver doesn't know how to ease the stupid brakes!! Then it became clear unto me as I see Grandma two rows up has been emptying her box of tissue to her family members (plural) on the left and right and handing out plastic bags. I thought "Grandma, THANK YOU for carrying random plastic bags with you!!!". Then it all clicked for me, "I thought I've been hearing some kid coughing in the back of the bus for the past hour but the coughing sound didn't quite follow through . . . oh my goodness, I hope there is a grandma back there too handing out plastic bags".

The smell is absolutely overwhelming at this point of the trip and I still got 2-3 hrs ahead of me. I thought about getting up to get my earbuds so I can at least mask out the barfing chorus in the background but I didn't want to stand up; I was afraid what I was going to see. It was just then I heard this toddler in the back said "I need to go poop". Now if I was in the US, I wouldn't have feared but China don't exactly uphold the same cleanliness standards. Once again, I've been visiting China for 2 weeks, I've "seen" things. I was hesterical by now. I actually laughed out loud. I thought this is one of those situations that can not possibly get any worse. Actually, now that I think back, the guy next to me probably had it worse - barfy passengers, pooping kids and a crazy guy that is laughing for no reason (Dude, if you are reading this, I'm not crazy). I looked back at my mother who sits behind me, she chuckled and threw a jacket over her head.

As I reflect on this experience, I can't blame the people for barfing. No body in their right mind would ever want to vomit for the heck of it. I can't blame the kid for having No. 2 urges, nature calls happen. Can't blame the traffic, it's the weekend. But the driver, the driver's foot is to blame. Only if he would know how to ease, all this would have been averted.