Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Adventures On the Chinatown Bus

Some of you may remember my excitement about riding the Chinatown Bus from Greensboro to New York City for $30. I love adventures and figured this experience would be an adventure-and it did not dissapoint!

Greensboro -->> Chinatown

About 50 of our students also booked tickets on the Chinatown bus, so I figured it would not be as adventurous as I once thought. We'd probably have a bus to ourselves. All 50+ of us waited at the Shell gas station for the bus to come...and waited...and waited. We passed the time by making jokes about how the bus ripped us off and was never coming or how we'd all get on board and be gassed and sold as slaves.

Finally, at midnight (the bus was scheduled to leave at midnight), the bus pulled up. We all made a dash for it, much to the Chinese bus driver's horror. He began flailing his arms, I suppose indicating for us to stop. I looked on the bus and realized there were about five seats open. I can see overbooking maybe 10 seats, but 50? On the Chinatwon bus?

So, we waited for another hour and a half while they sent us another bus from Charlotte. Somehow we still ended up in NYC by 10:30. I am glad I slept through most of that.

It ended up working out fairly well because we did indeed get a bus to ourselves. However, the bathroom smelled HEINOUS. I mean heinous. I used it in desperation. I spent one minute in that hole of hellish rot and the smell seeped into my clothes and stayed there for two hours!

At one point, the bus driver, despite all the "no smoking" signs, lit up and smoked for a while. I am glad I was not sitting behind him.

NYC -->> Greensboro

Imagine it: 50+ people standing on a street in Chinatown. There is no real bus stop-just a building. And it's raining, so all 50+ people are crunched under two awnings with all their luggage (a couple stuffed themselves in a  phone booth).

And then enter crazy loud man. He is begging us for money with some sob story about his wife and kids waiting for him at the bus stop (what bus stop?!) He becomes angry because we won't give him money, so he starts yelling racist comments about Chinese people and insisting that even they give him money, so we should. Then he says he's going to beat up one of our guys when he attempts to get crazy loud man to leave us alone. Crazy loud man leaves because he's convinced that we are calling the police (we are not).

It rains harder. Our students get louder. The bus people tell us our bus will be here in "10 more minutes" every 15 minutes.

This is how I feel..until I remember the humor of the situation.

Crazy Loud Man returns and runs on the bus (not ours) and steals the driver's bag and runs off. Two of our students chase after him. Then three of our students chase after them. Jeff and I thank God that we work with college students who are responsible for their own lives and hope they don't die.

Our students return sans driver's bag. It's ok, though, because he only had ciggarettes in there. Go figure.

We finally get on our bus wet and tired.

Would I do it again? For $30 bucks and a blog entry-heck yes! And maybe without 50 college students for whom I am somewhat responsible. I will just not drink any liquid.

Delightfully Traveling on a Bus,


  1. Oh Lord it sounds like you had one heck of a

    Thank you for stopping by my blog SITsta!

  2. Love it! Still think you're crazy.

  3. April! This story was SO funny : ) I LOVED the illustration picture of how you felt : ) SO funny. I hate bathrooms like that. ICK! I am glad you had a fun time. Sort of : )

  4. hey April sooooooo funny i think i need to convince my parents to let me go sometime.... maybe not as long of a trip though
    luv your little cous Mary Hubbs

  5. I've always been curious about the Chinatown buses here in Philly--one time my husband and I walked by at 8:00 at night and there was a crowd so big we thought someone famous was coming!

  6. where can I park a car when I travel on the chinatown bus for the weekend? I live in Winston-Salem?

  7. Not sure..We had people drop us off. It picks up in a gas station, so there is really no place to park. If you're going to Gboro, there IS a church across the street that you can probably park at and not get in trouble.

  8. I forced my friend to take china bus instead of flight .. once he got on to the bus, the first thing he did was calling me up on the phone n blasted me .. when I googled out for experiences, I landed on your blog n similar tales about the china bus.. I wish that his return journey would be pleasant atleast.. Happy Easter!!


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