Friday, June 27, 2008

Ultimate Greyhound Experience

I have been in US since June 8 and what happened yesterday would probably have been the most memorable incident for this trip (thus far!). As I made a detour to Denver to visit some friends down at Emergenetics Int., I decided to stay on to fully immerse myself in the Rockies experience of my life time.

I was back in Denver after travelling with the Harold, Vice President EG to Branby and Steamboat to conduct training for the leaders in these districts, I was ready to embark on my own to head up again to the mountains, by myself. And then, the excitement began. To be as factual as I can, this was what happened on the 26/6.

  • 11.00am : Bought ticket to proceed to Glenwood Springs. Bus was to leave Denver station at 12.01pm and arrive at my holiday destination at 3.30pm (so I hoped).

  • 11.30am: I placed my luggage in the queue and sat beside a new friend- Chen Bo, 陈博. He is 22 years old, just completed his college with Brown University (one of the Ivy Leagues)- with a scholarship by Oracle, he came from China to study Computer Science for the past 4 years. This young led had quite an adventure as he was tugging 3 huge luggages- of which he shared that he kept a DESKTOP and belongings of the past 4 years, as he travelled around US for holiday.

  • 11.35am: Then came a dainty old lady who sat beside us and kept talking, singing and chatting-with herself. I volunteered to help her put her flowery 2 wheel bag so that she could reserve her place behind mine. Her bag which I handled has a interesting link later so let me call her 'Mdm Y'.

  • 11.45am: Chen Bo rushed to see if he could get himself up the bus heading for San Francisco (oh yes, its a total of 19 hours of bus ride from Denver) I was glad he managed to get a last minute ticket. I quickly helped him to pull his luggage to the bus. However, as he only had one bus tag, he needed to run in to request for another. As I overheard a Mexican lady running in to buy that ONE last ticket too, I decided to help him push his luggage into the cabin first ... being a typical kia-su Singaporean, I do know whats best in that dire situation. Just as I was about to succeed, that lady ran forward and shouted, "I got it, I got it" Immediately the bus driver pushed out Chen Bo's bag and exclaimed, "I am full". Poor Chen Bo was still at the counter behind as the bus left the station. My heart went out to him when he ran back and all he could say was " What the F@#*...." He then realised that as the last ticket was 'open' for purchase, both counters proceeded to sell it at the same time to Chen Bo and the Mexican lady. They then got him a ticket on my bus that will head to Los Angeles thereafter he needed to change to San Francisco. I was filled with pity thinking it would be quite a ride for him.

  • 12:05pm : Back to my queue, I helped Chen Bo join me as the line was getting realllllly long. I introduced him to my 2 new friends. Jacob was this fabulous man from Florida as well as this Chinese Filipino. Jacob is really one of the most friendly Americans I have seen so far. Our early conversation led me to admire how he gave up a 10 years post as a manager for Continental Airways and decided to rough it out by travelling around US and took on odd-time jobs to travel and earn a living. The Chinese Filipino worked for a company that service hotels and manage their servers. At the same time, Mdm Y-the old lady behind me sat on the floor and pulled out her bra from under her shirt and threw it straight into a nearby bin. I caught it and frowned as I quickly looked away.

  • 12.30pm : The bus had not arrived. I continued to chat with my new group of travelling buddies. Jacob who has worked with the American transport system mourned that we should be glad if the bus can arrive within the next hour. He shared of his experience when the bus was full of passengers but at the transit with change of drivers, the other driver never turned up until 12 hours later. In my mind, my first response was , "Lord, have mercy...."

  • 1.20pm : The bus finally arrived. Driver looked friendly. Passengers were relieved as we boarded the bus. After we were nicely settled, up came a big size man with long beard and long hair. He made his first impression as he called out while walking down the aisle "Who is the lucky one to sit beside me".. my eyes darted him as he moved to the back and sat with the rowdy group of teenagers. They loved him instantly as they were swearing and talking aloud. He was THE lead character so let me call him 'Mr X'.

  • 2.45pm : Out of nowhere, Mr X shouted out from the back, "This is one of the most beautiful part of the Rockie mountain..." the driver reminded him to keep quiet as passengers were resting. Mr X continued and proclaimed his great love for America. Driver pulled over at the side at highway 70 and Mr X walked forward and called out "Whats your F*#$*ing problem..." The rest of the bus kept really quiet. I was scared.

  • 3.10pm : Mr X shouted again, "Does anyone have gums... the children here have popping ears" No one responded and he continued shouting til someone offered.

  • 3.30pm : Driver made a surprise announcement- he had to pull up at Frisco. He informed that the belt for the air conditioning was broken and had to call for the mechanic. A mechanic needed to drive all the way from Vail to repair and may delay for another 1.5 hours. The bus all mourned then in unison. Pulling up at a gas station with Wendy's, my buddies and I decided to dine. While waiting for rest to get off the bus, Mr X walked past and commented to this Korean lady who was travelling by herself, "Hey pretty, you wan to have fun with me?" She ignored him and he sneered.

  • 4.00pm : We heard some quarrelling across the store next door. Apparently, old Lady Mdm Y made some racist remark to the Afro-American and I was told in her feat of angered, she....bared her saggy breast. She was then chased out. At the same time, someone came over and told us that the driver has called in the police to handle Mr X.

  • 4.10pm : Police came and interrogated Mr X, with Driver and some others surrounding. We watched the drama from inside the store. We were told that Mr X was drunk, with his liquor kept inside the coke bottle that he was holding throughout the trip. When he opened his bag, to my horror, there was a PISTOL in there. Imagination ran wild with "What ifs...." Finally Mr X was gone.... to my great relief.... so I thought.

  • 4.45pm : The bus was repaired and ready to go on. At this moment, I saw Mdm Y's purple sweater outside lying on the rock and I called out to driver that Mdm Y was missing. At the moment, someone spotted Mdm Y in a far away spot. She called out to Mdm Y but Mdm Y just walked on, in the direction away from the bus. "What the heck ..." I thought and I got off the bus to run after her. I was glad I caught up... half panting half shouting, I called out "Hey madam, the bus is leaving, ... come on, lets go" She took me by surprise by hiding behind a trunk and called back, "I heard you.... get lost... I am not going back... go go ....." Momentarily, I was at a lost, "Should I stay or should I go?" If I were to grab her by force, I could be arrested for sexual harassment. The earlier scene with Mr X and the police was not what I want for myself. "This is America.... " and Michael Buble's song of 'Home' came into my mind, so helplessly, I ran back to the bus. Everyone greeted me outside and asked what happened. I only could recount what she said. People started speculating what could have happened, as they recalled what happened to her in the store earlier.

  • 5.10pm : After discussion, they formed yet another search party that consisted of a tall Canadian man, a young American lady and two bouncy teenagers. After 10 min, they returned with no news of her. My heart sank, and I happened to catch a piercing glare from another passenger. She must have thought I murdered her and threw her body into the swamp. " us" The funny thing was some of us started wondering if this whole episode was filmed or were we part of 'Lost- season III'. This was far more dramatic than we could anticipate.

  • 5.30pm : Another police car arrived, and they proceeded to search for her. Ten minutes later, they returned and told the Driver to proceed. I then took her purple sweater and put it back where she left. Driver assigned me to bring her flowery bag to the Glenwood station.

  • 6.45pm : The air con belt broke again and the driver decided to continue driving. The tall Canadian man volunteered to push open the top ledge to allow the cool mountain air to flow in. Another mishap.... his finger got stuck by the ledge and he yupped in pain... ah....

  • 8.00pm : I finally arrived at Glenwood Springs. Deposited Mdm Y's bag and started to find how to get to the hotel. Jacob my good friend was a fabulous chap. He helped the 2 Norwegian ladies (one a teacher, another a grandma who runs some big company) find their long lost friend whom they met 30years ago, just by looking up the yellow pages. Amazing. He then helped to call the hotel and I realised it was about 2 miles away. I was exhausted and there were no cabs around. Thankfully, an American boy came along and told me of the free bus service that runs into town. God bless him... good begets good. We waited for a long while but it was a good chat. (photo of me, Jacob and the 2 Norwegian ladies)

  • 9:15pm : 6 hours later than planned, I am sure glad I got to motel, safely in one piece. Anxiously, I called up Vanessa and told her the story.

  • 27 June- 7.25am: I just completed this entry....and was looking forward to tell my son Joshua over Skye the adventure.... til then, I am heading later for the rafting experience down Colorado River- if class 5 was the worst, maybe class 4 would be just nice for me. Sure look forward to a SAFE experience across the Shoshone Rapids and Glenwood Canyon.


Randah said...

yes, indeed you were on Lost but apparently not all of you got lost, so there's still more to come.

Just finished chatting with you over skype, I can only imagine what will happen next. sounds like fun. wait till you arrive to Toronto on monday.


John Yeo said...

You sure can say that again. It was odd cos it really seemed like quite an international casts- me from Singapore, the lead characters who were really one of its kind, we have a Filipino, hispanics, two kinky teenagers who kind of jumped out of the High School musical movie, a china boy who graduated from American college, norwegian, mexican, and many more. O, not forgetting the Driver who looked like Santa Claus, and a old man who carried with him an oxygen tank.

Someone even commented that Mdm Y could have been a ghost. LOL.

Funny thing was, after all the drama, the passengers were like a family, we talked, people mixed around during the breaks, .... nothing like a real Greyhound experience.

Carol said...

wow, exciting! Praise God that you have been kept safe this whole time. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

wow mr yeo!
how come u get to travel so oft!

John Yeo said...

Hi yixin
this time is for studies. Rememb 2 yrs back when I started my Masters, well, now its ALMOST about to be completed... so you must work hard too okie...I work as you hard as you guys do too u know...(except this short trip is a well deserved break for self!)

Tania said...

John! THIS is what I love about traveling - true that not all experiences are always good... AND the life lessons make it all worth while! Thank you for sharing this grand adventure and for reminding me yet again that there are really good people out there!!! Big hugs my friend!

John Yeo said...

I thought mine was bad... until I was alerted to this article.
Passenger stabbed and beheaded by a Chinese on a greyhound.