The ride is cheap, always crowded, getting on is a free-for-all and finding a seat nearly impossible.
The fleet of buses that serve Havana are too few in number and do not arrive frequently enough, but many in Havana (the city) rely on a daily bus ride to get to work or school.
My Cuban photographer friend Romnis and I photographed several interesting places outside Havana and he challenged me to use the bus like a native. Of course I accepted. It was July, temperature in the mid-nineties, high humidity, and bright sun every day. How bad could it be?
I’ll confess that it is not that bad. When the bus is moving, there is almost enough air from all the open windows to offset the odor of cheap perfume, bad breath, and normal body odors …. almost
As long as there looks like there will be sufficient space to board, Cubans are polite and enter the bus civily. But after the bus has been stopped a while and when space is getting tight, there comes the last-minute crush to gain entry. I was in this position on one trip.
Romnis had jumped on board and I was a bit late to follow. Two or three people rushed in ahead of me and suddenly it appeared as if I would not make it. Romnis turned to find me hesitating and with a smile he yelled “come On”. I reached in, grabbed a bar, and pulled myself into the crowd. It became instantly clear that the door would close and I did my best twisting and wiggling to make certain that it closed behind me. After a few stops, we were able to work our way a little further in and I did not have to fight with a closing door again. Romnis only laughed.