The following story recently won second place in the BTL travel writing contest. Congrats, Anne-Sophie! What a ride!
One lovely January day, I was in a minibus, practically flying along a Lesotho mountain road, wondering whether the holes in the windshield were caused by bullets or large stones combined with breakneck speed.
Usually, these busses run with two people per seat. Entering, I had braced myself for that forced intimacy, but to my relief only two other passengers were there; cheerful young boys, 15 perhaps. As was the driver!
“Are you going to Maseru ?” I asked. No response. I repeated the question twice before one of the kid passengers turned and said something incomprehensible.
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He repeated it twice, before it dawned on me that he wasn’t answering. Instead he yelled “get moving”, or that’s how the driver interpreted it. I hung on to the door, but to no avail. The door panel landed in my lap and screaming seemed a good option.
Soon, I noticed a car on our tail. Had these kids pinched the bus or something? Glancing out again, I saw an arm waving something through the passenger window. Something shiny! I knew those were bullet holes! This was obviously a shoot-out. Scared, angry and nauseous, I considered throwing up. Would that stop the driver? With those guys behind us, did I want him to stop?
After a while, I realized there wasn’t any shooting. As we approached an intersection, my driver spun around and screeched to a halt. From behind, a man approached with the shiny thing, a metal box!
It turned out my guy was a bus driver, of legal driving age, who forgot his lunch. The man slapped my back and laughed. He was the guy’s father and this was just a bit of father-son rough-housing. They did it all the time; although, he admitted, rarely with foreigners in the bus.