surviving a 12 hour bus ride to southern Spain

1:13 PM

Any sane person would have taken the plane or the train. So what does that say about us?

It was monday and the entire mag+s community was bound for different corners of Spain, Portugal, France, and North Africa.There was a group on a pilgrimage to Fatima where they were to walk along unbeaten paths. Another was bound for Lisboa to volunteer and live with multi-cultural neighborhood. While another group would be lending their muscles in Las Palamas to help renovate buildings and creation of spaces for encounter with community and nature.

In the  WYD-MAG+S application form, we noted our interests and I guess, that’s where they based on the kind of experience they'll throw us into.

I and six other Filipinas hopped on a bus at 11:00 bound for torre dela horadada. And even after searching for it on google, there were still just three things that I know about this place: It’s a seaside town; It’s in southern Spain; and It takes twelve hours by bus to get there.

So what does one do to survive being stuck inside a bus for that long? Here are a few tips:

1. Explore a foreign place/ country.
Needless to say, everything that passes outside the bus window would be interesting. It certainly was for me. Misty mountains gave way to golden hills. In a couple of hours they were replaced by gray rocky mountains. And later on, the earth seemed to be entirely covered with off-white sand. The changing landscape was so interesting for me that I actually took a photo of the road, which baffled Spanish girls Bea and Maria. “Why did you take a picture of the road? It’s so ugly!,” asked Bea. To which I replied, “It’s not ugly to me! In the Philippines, everything is so green.”

a stretch along spain's extensive motorway

there were some exits that featured art pieces like this one.

even if it's mostly brown and dry, the spanish countryside is actually green - with their fields of windmills. 

2. Be sleep-deprived two nights in a row.
Having just ten hours of sleep for the last forty-eight hours must have helped in making me doze off while in transit. If you’re like me, I never get sleepy while in a moving vehicle. It must be due to the years spent riding on the backseat of my parents’ car. So this ride to southern Spain was one of those rare times that I actually got some shut eye while moving.

3. Sit beside someone well-mannered.
Because she wouldn’t bore you witless with her incessant chatter nor wake you up with her fidgeting. She would respect what little personal space you both have. And darling Alexa was all that. She was the perfect seatmate. (as well as katsy, who was my seatmate on the way to Loyola.)

on the bus with seatmate pretty alexa

sitting across were gorgeous girls billie and katsy 

4. Have two stopovers.  (And make sure, one is for lunch.)
The bus does need to gas up, so you actually don’t have any control over that. And mr. coach driver needs his cup of coffee and stretch his legs anyway. We stopped for lunch at a petrol station.  At one of the picnic tables, we ate our ration of sandwich and orange juice with Agata, our first polish friend. Our second stop was at another petrol station next to a motel where the girls bought Magnum ice cream. 

yummy filipinos.

would you take a bite of this nun's tits?
roadside lunch with our first polish friend agata

stopped somewhere in valencia for some magnum. ;-) grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

5. Get on board a bus with friendly people from other countries.
Do make sure they are friendly so you could start hacking away the time with the all too familiar, “where do you come from? If I ever visit your country, what food should I try? Where should I go?” Alexa and I were seated in front of a pair of Chilean girls. And after asking those questions, they started explaining to me how Chilean Spanish is different from Spanish Spanish. (I guess, it’s pretty much like between british english, american english, and filipino english.)
6. Bring a guitar and sing away. (make sure though that the people you’re traveling don’t mind the racket.) When C-14’s very own minstrel Javier was bored out of his wits, he took out his guitar and started playing.  Evidently, everyone was into music too (who isn’t?!) and joined in on the singing. Then each country - portugal, chile, philippines, was asked to play a song or two.

C-14's very own minstrel, javier and his partner, flutist ignacio
then it was the chileans's turn to lead in the singing

our very own marion went all taylor swift and someone was smitten!
grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page

7. Have a TV on board. (But be sure that the film is in a language you do understand.)
Filipinos are just too familiar with this concept that even buses that go around the metro are equipped with TVs.  Our bus did have a TV but the driver played a Spanish film. (Needless to say, I didn’t understand a thing.)  The Portuguese girls demanded that the driver play a film in English but that fell on deaf ears. Yes, even if it did have subtitles, it would still be completely useless. How could you possibly read the translation if you’re all the way at the back of a moving bus? Hmmm?
this chilean cutie channeled liam gallagher and sang wonderwall

8. Be with good-looking people.
This one’s a no brainer. Simply because you wouldn’t mind  staring at them for hours. Riding with this Chilean cutie who could sing and play the guitar, wasn't so bad. I didn’t mind looking at that boy at all.  There was also this Portuguese girl who supposedly looks like Emma Watson. The girls didn’t mind staring and talking about her. In fact, they were so enchanted by her that they had their photo taken just before she got off the bus. (Of course, i joined in the photo. What harm is there?)

a portugese emma watson. or so they said. do you agree? grabbed from cathy diaz's fb page
9. Be welcomed by the warmest of people at your destination.
After dropping off the other group in the city of Alicante at 20:30, we were back on the road for the three more hours. When it felt like we would never get there, the bus was finally halting in front of a house. When we got off the bus, we were greeted with hugs and smiles by the most gracious of women. They have been waiting for us all this time! And at that moment, it seem that the looong bus ride might just be worth it after all.

hello to you, too! :-)

they made a cut-out of all our names! isn't that sweet?!


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