Saturday, 9 March 2013

Bus or Steam Room?

It wasn't raining. Those drops of water are inside the bus, not outside

After being sick for such a long time, I decided to take the bus the work for a while until I felt stronger. It didn’t take long for me to remember why, although driving in Japan is scary, my PCX is my best friend. Japanese buses and department stores are ridiculously overheated in winter and overcooled in summer. Apparently Sweden is the same. If you have to wait at a bus stop in winter of course you’re going to rug up, right? Then the bus arrives and you get on with your coat, beanie, gloves, scarf… and the heater is pumping forty degree air and the windows (here in my little corner of the world, not all over Japan) are all rusted shut. The windows inside become so steamed up that if you sit on the window side your shoulder and scarf become damp. The heat intensifies the smells of the elderly, who seem to make up a majority of bus passengers around here. It's a combination of artificial perfumes, baby powder and that internationally ubiquitous potpourri old lady scent with an undertone of something metallic. It isn't that it is a bad smell exactly; I assume that if you had a close relationship with a grandparent it might even be a nostalgic smell. The problem for me is that you can’t escape from the steamy oppressive air by opening a window and there’s never enough room to get your coat off. You emerge sweaty and red faced, stepping out into the freezing air that turns your wet scarf into an icicle around your neck. I think I’d rather just snot inside my helmet after-all.
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