Our main mode of transportation is by bus. We are within a short walking distance of the bus stop and most things we need to get to are along one of the bus routes. The ride is always a cultural experience and an opportunity to get to possibly practice the language. There are even unwritten rules when you ride the bus. 1. It is good to have exact change or close to it to make it easier for the money guy. 2. Older people, women and then parents with children have first priority for the seats in that order. If you have a seat and an older person gets on the bus, you should offer your seat to that person. The same goes for a woman if you are a man. 3. There is no personal space on a bus. Sometimes they can get packed and you wonder how one more person can fit. David was basicially hugged for a few stops by a tajik woman when the bus was crowded so they both could hold on to the bar.
There are two types of buses- diesel and electric. We take the electric most of the time because it is a bit cheaper and is easier to have the right amount of change. The electric also seem to be less crowded but that is all relative.
I enjoy riding the bus. It is a good way to watch the people interact and be a part of the culture with limited language. Today on the way home from church, I was actually able to have a conversation with two sisters that were sitting in front of me. Of course I had a little help from Noel and another guy who knew both tajik and English. We were able to talk about where we lived, how many kids we have and where we are from. They did understand a little English which helped if I got stuck. It made me feel like I have made a bit of progress. The conversation is also motivation to keep at it so I will be better able to relate to the people I meet. Teresa