I’ve ragged on the buses a bit since I’ve got here, for not being regular enough, particularly at the weekends, for being a bit rickety at times. By my goodness, are the drivers here lovely, lovely souls. Where British bus drivers seem to have a revolting level of glee about seeing you sprinting for the bus in their rear view mirror and pulling away just before you get to the stop, the drivers here are wonderful. I saw a bus pull up on the opposite side of the road that I wanted and pelted across, knowing it would pull away just before I could get to it. But it didn’t. When I got on the bus I thanked the driver who said “If I see you running I’ll wait.” And they do this for loads of people, picking people, especially the elderly up from spots just before or just after the stop to make it easier for them. They always, always greet you as you get on- ‘How are you going?’ ‘Hi there’ ‘How are you’- and I always now say hello and how are you- it just makes the day more human.
Another example, a bit involved, but bear with me. The other day, because the tap on/tap off card reader on the bus to work wasn’t working (happens a couple of times, the drivers just give you a free ride), my card had run out of juice for the return trip and there was nowhere on campus to top it up (this is the ridiculous bit-there’s barely anywhere you can top up in person which baffles me), so I had to pay cash. I’d been worried I might have run low so I’d gone to the cash point to get some money out, but there was a problem with my credit card (fun times with money abroad) so I hadn’t been able to get any. I had checked on the webpage and it seemed to suggest that I could pay by card on the bus (twice as expensive as the tap on/tap off rate) but obviously was happy to pay- it’s not a walkable home distance! BUT I’d read the website wrong, and you can’t pay by card, and I had no cash and no way of getting it out. Well, I had a little cash. The adult fare is $4.80 cash ($2 something with your travel card) and I had abut $2.60… And the driver dug around, found the 0.20 extra I needed to get a concession fare and let me on. Now in the UK I don’t know what it’s like everywhere, but in London- oh HELL no would that ever happen. It was just such a nice, small piece of kindness- which I thanked him for sincerely- and the next day put a large wadge of money on my card and set up auto-top up online so I won’t run out in future.
Anyways, I might be making too much out of nothing, but… these little bits make the world go round. And whilst I sit on the bus to work (which had initially felt like a bit of a ball ache) I actually really enjoy watching the world go by. Sometimes I get to watch these guys hanging out in their tree:
Two of the approximate MILLION cockatoos here in Canberra.