April 22, 2011

Le Bus

When people ask me what I like so much about France, aside from the bread and the cheese, the public transportation system is definitely something I talk about.

I have lived in France three times now, and I’ve never felt the need to own a car. There are metros, busses, trams and trains galore. You can get pretty much anywhere using public transit.

Most of the time, I am quite content using transports en commun.

The other day, however, I had an experience that almost made me give up public transit forever (alas I am not rich enough to own a car in France!).

After work, I got the same bus I always do to head towards the train station, but something was not right.

This bus smelled like vomit.

This bus had water all over the floor.

This bus smelled. like. vomit.

Putting two and two together, clearly somebody had vomited on this very bus, and the public transportation gods thought they could just hose the bus down and everything would be ok!


I was seated by a window, and although it was open to the max, the smell of puke infiltrated my nostrils with no sense of compassion.

I thought I, too, was going to throw up.

Somehow or another, I managed to survive trapped inside the barf bus and not blow chunks.

I had never been so grateful to arrive at my destination and breathe fresh air.


  1. Blow chunks. One of my favourite phrases ever!

  2. Sounds like the MARTA (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) trains. They used to be carpeted. I'll repeat that. They used to carpet underground subway trains. There was a constant smell of urine from homeless people peeing in corners. IT'S CARPET! Talk about a bad smell.

  3. Ughhh, my stomach turned just reading this.

  4. Joel: I liked explaining what "blowing chunks" meant to FBF.

    Joshua: OH man that sounds like the worst! My brother lives in Atlanta (he goes to school at Emory) and I took MARTA to get from the airport to his campus, but I don't remember it being carpeted... I'm happy that I missed out on that experience!

    Kaley: Thanks for the sympathy!

  5. Emory. Really? That's about 3 miles from where I work. Crazy. They've started converting the trains to remove the carpet, so that might be why.

  6. What a small world! Maybe we saw each other on MARTA and didn't even know it (or, more likely, you and my brother may have crossed paths)!

  7. Hello Laura,

    I can't imagine having to ride a bus that smelled like vomit! How horrid! That is not RIGHT!


  8. oh. this makes me not miss the public trnasit as much (and I really miss being able to be green!)

  9. Not gonna lie, I hate the bus. Tram and Metro are OK in my book, but i'd rather walk than take a bus. Hate crowds, hate sitting by strangers, and definitely hate the occasional vomit/pee/shit smells you get on a bus. I wanted to blow some chunks of my very own just reading this!!

  10. Kris: I know! It was horrible.

    Jenna: That's what makes me deal with things like bus vomit... it's all for the goodness of the planet! (and the fact that I don't actually have a car...)

    Amber: I used to be super into the bus! I took it all the time when I lived in Paris, but having to take it to work everyday.. let's just say I'll be glad when I don't have to ride it so frequently..


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