I have a love/hate relationship….
….with the combis. So that you can properly visualize:
This is a combi:
(Don’t worry, that picture’s from Google.)
That’s the “cobrador” standing at the door. He shouts out where the combi is going; if you wave him down, he’ll probably tell the driver to stop for you….the designated stops don’t mean a whole lot. Nor do the streets printed on the side of the combis always match up with where it’s actually going.
As you can see, it’s more or less THE mode of transportation here.
Reasons I love the combis:
1) They are cheap. 2 soles (less than a dollar) to get all the way across Lima to the university.
2) The drivers are there to serve YOU! None of this “let’s wait for the pedestrian to cross…” nonsense.
3) Though the system is unorganized, it is efficient. I have never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a combi.
Until last Wednesday.
Coming back from the university, I have to switch combis. I’m not really sure where I messed up here, because before Wednesday I had successfully made it home a few times. But the switch is in “not the best area” of Lima, which usually isn’t a problem because I’m there for less than 2 minutes. However, I managed to wait a good 15-20 minutes before I saw a combi which had my destination street painted on the side. So I run through the maze of combis (see above picture for a visualization) while they’re stopped at the light and hop on. Just to be sure, I ask the cobrador if he’s going to this street, and guess what? He’s not. So I hop off.
After waiting a few more minutes, I ask a cobrador where to catch a combi that’s going where I want to go (I’m refraining from saying the street name here because this blog is public 😛 ).
Apparently I’m on the wrong side of the street.
So, alas, I figured it out eventually. At least now I know that if I live in D.C. after graduation, I won’t have any problem with their transportation system
Oh, the joys of Lima.