[imbussible]

Public transportation has never been a favorite of mine. Call me elitist but I really just feel quite dirty on most public transportation vehicles. It’s the idea of everyone and anyone touching everything and anything. The germ-phobe in me just can’t handle the thought of touching the same pole as the guy-who-doesn’t-wash-his-hands-after-using-the-potty or sitting in the same seat as the girl-who-got-sloppy-drunk-and-fell-asleep-on-the-bar-bathroom-floor. No thanks. Sure, those are extremes, but can you tell me that you haven’t had that feeling? Maybe I just need to acquaint myself with the cleaning standards of public transportation, but I just feel like I need to sanitize myself after each ride.

Italian busses were no exception. I managed to get over my mild germ-aphobia but I had another problem.

I think I first realized I had a problem around 2 years ago. I used to be fine. Normal. But now I think I get motion sickness. I know. I KNOW! It makes me so so sad too. I remember riding the silly rides at Universal Studios [the ones where you sit in a moving car and they play a lame movie on the screen and try to pretend that you’re experiencing the ride?]. I loved roller coasters. I used to read in cars. Write on trains. I used to watch movies like Bourne Identity with the shakey cinematography. Now? Not a chance. I get a bad headache and nausea. I don’t know why this happened to me.

To give you some more facts. the parts of Southern Italy that Angie and I visited were mainly on large, beautiful mountainsides overlooking or right on the ocean. The views are breathtaking, see below. To get from city to city, though, you must drive or take a bus up and around and down the mountain.

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Now, I’m working partly off assumptions here so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong [my depth perception and concept for measurement was never great]. Let’s say a typical coach bus [that we rode] was 8.5 feet wide and a car can range between 5-6 feet wide. If I had to guess, too, I would say that a standard road was somewhere around 15 feet wide at its widest and 10 feet at its narrowest.

In total, Angie and I took about 4 busses around Sorrento and the Amalfi area. Each time, I’m pretty positive I could have thrown up.

The mountain roads have more curves than [insert name of popular celebrity known for curves. ex: Kim Kardashian, J.Lo, Beyoncé, etc.]. Each turn hugged the mountainside tighter and tighter. At some points, we drove so close to the edge or to parked cars that I probably wouldn’t even need to extend my arm to reach out and touch them. Sitting on these busses was so stressful; it’s enough to make even the most calm monk anxious. Picture back to back U-turns in a bus…for 2 hours.

Our first bus ride was on our 2nd day in Sorrento. Angie and I were in search of a beach but we didn’t get to the bus stop until later in the day. We sat on the left side of the bus, the side closest to the mountain, looking out to the cars going the opposite direction. My advice: don’t sit here.

Angie and I sat right behind the bus driver. We noticed that he kept honking when we got to turns. Apparently, the bigger cars get the right of way. Which basically means that if the bus was turning in a small space and has to take up both lanes and you’re a little baby car, you have to reverse in the street until the bus can pass. And if you were the dummy that thought you could pass but then realized you couldn’t fit and then there was a long line of cars behind you? Well, everyone has to back up and you become that guy. The dummy driver. No one wants to be that guy. It’s embarrassing. And it happened a lot. The honking, if you hear it, helps alert you that a bus is headed right towards you. Listen for the honking!

There were some times when we would be literally centimeters from a car, the edge, the building, a person, you name it. My stomach was in knots the entire ride. We made so many turns, it was like a never-ending roller coaster you’d wish would stop. I thought for sure we’d get in some sort of bus accident and topple down the mountain.

Our first bus ride was silly. We rode the bus down to Nerrano for 45 minutes only to turn around and go back up to St. Agata again. Apparently we were on the last bus for the night. [So much for the beach]. The only upside was getting hit on by some high school boys who thought Angie and I were in college.
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The second bus we took was from Sorrento to St. Agata, which was about 40 minutes of standing. Between my tense legs, my arms deathgripping miscellaneous handles within arm’s length, and butt-bumping into people, it wasn’t the worst bus ride I’ve ever been on. By the third bus ride, Angie and I studied the bus driver’s movement, ready to Speed off if the bus driver wanted to tag-team the drive. I think Angie even fell asleep on that one. On the fourth bus ride, Angie slept pretty much the entire way…and me? Well, I was comfortable enough to close my eyes for 5 seconds at a time. Which was a start.

Really though, I gotta give credit to these bus drivers. I’m telling you. These guys are pros. How they strategize the turns is a wonder to me. How they keep their cool is amazing. How they maneuver through parked cars and narrow roads is simply incredible. It’s something I hope to never have to endure again, though. Just watching them gives me anxiety. Just sitting there with no pressure on me whatsoever is absolutely nerve-racking. I can’t do it. It’s impossible. Don’t make me.

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