Is the Shuttle Van a Trend in Travel

Is the Shuttle Van a Trend in Travel
The Chicken Bus won, this is a used American School Bus sent to Guatemala and made into public transportation. I like Chicken Buses better than Shuttle Vans.

Chickens bus, I do not think the locals call it this… I am sure on occasions a chicken or two uses the bus.

I am Chicken to use the small shuttle vans anymore; the Chicken bus has become my favorite mode of travel on short trips in Guatemala.

Panajachel Guatemala
Lago Atitlan - Lake Atitlan
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Blog of Andy ---

Chicken Buses, cheap and convenient form of Transportation in Guatemala. With a Chicken bus, you do not have to plan, just leave and you will arrive after an experience of a lifetime. I believe a volunteer in this country should be required to only use Chicken buses.

On the last trip from Antigua to Panajachel in a Shuttle Van, I got motion sickness, puked out the window, in a plastic bag, and was miserable for the whole next day recovering from the trip. I think there were three or four people puking, the driver finally stopped and allowed us to revive, and he for sure was not helping by riding the break.

There are the alternatives I know of

Private Car - Too dangerous, I have only been here a few weeks and I already know two people who were robbed at gunpoint.

Hired Taxi - Same as private car, probably worst, as the driver could be conspiracy to rob you.
Shuttle Van - The regular size fan with 12 people packed into it and the drivers a lottery and the seat a lottery. A good seat in the second tier and you optimize your chances of not becoming sick.

Pullman Bus - This is a full size bus, however hard to find them to Pana, they seem to leave one time per day, and I waited in Pana for two hours the other time and finally took a Chicken Bus.

Chicken Bus
I do not know about the rest of the world, I came to visit Guatemala.

“Bienvenido a Guatemala”

The Chicken Bus is the people of Guatemala cramped three to a seat, full of strange noises, nice people, and stops a lot. It takes a different road or path to Panajachel, one with fewer curves and you must transfer a couple of times. A full size bus is better for sightseeing than a van, it sits up about 3 feet higher, the windows are bigger and you can see the world better, the best possible for photographers is a full size bus.

The bottom line is this, I get car sick easy, the shuttle van made 25 percent of the occupants sick.

I want to arrive in any city before noon and no later than 2:00, every hour after 2:00 compounds the difficulties of entering a city, the later it gets the more dangerous and stupid it gets. The chicken buses appear to leave continuously all day long.

I feel the shuttle van; the 12-passenger type is a bad new trend in travel transportation. I think the average person does not want to touch a Guatemala person, and for sure does not want to sit next to one; therefore, this method of towing tourist is becoming a standard. I am somewhat sad; it is the best way in the world to avoid a cultural experience in Guatemala.

The whole world feels this NOT- Private, Not comfortable, not a good way to take photos, cramped, get motion sickness type of vehicle is best.

Today, I realized, I just will not try them again, I got sick in Thailand, and many place, this is the last straw, I am chicken bus.

I think I have learn more sitting next to people on buses, I know the world better, I can feel the peoples minds at work, I just get to know people sharing a seat.
(Note, I shared the one seat with a Korean girl, who gave me her email, I like the bus, I am not stupid...)

Is the Shuttle Van a Trend in Travel


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Here's another super long post. Sorry, sometimes the words just can't be stopped.

*I think the average person does not want to touch a Guatemala person, and for sure does not want to sit next to one*

If by average tourist, you mean an American/European on a one or two week trip, probably their only vacation of the year then I am not so sure the above statement is 100% accurate. People on a short (read expensive) don't like unknowns. They are often trying to do a lot in that short time. They don't have time to figure out how the buses operate in a country.

As for Americans, public transportation is almost nonexistent for most. For me to get to a plane/train/bus I have to hire a private bus/limo or get a ride from a friend. For us, it just seems easier to throw money at the problem and get on a scheduled tour. There are many times that a person would be better off just getting on a chicken bus. I have met a number of two week travelers that were doing it that way, but from my experiences they are rare.

I know Americans best. What I would call the average American tourist never leaves the country. Those that do almost never travel hobo style. At best, you get 3 weeks vacation a year. Most only get 2 or even 1. There is a good chance that at least one of these will be used to visit your mother in Cincinnati. You work all year to save enough money for a vacation, you fly to the Caribbean or some exotic vacation and stay at a resort. For two people an inexpensive vacation is already at $3,000 to $4,000 possibly a lot more. Add drinks and events and the cost can be huge. You then add excursions. Paying $2 for a chicken bus that is an unknown to them versus paying $50/person for a bus that is definitely going where you want, with like minded people and a guide that speak your language is a no brainer for most of them. $50 is nothing when you look at the total cost of the trip. Imagined peace of mind is worth a lot to them. I have, on occasion, done this type of excursion. I am not a resort type person, but have gone to them for dive trips with my girlfriend.

Now, if Americans were smart, we would be more like Europeans in that we would take longer vacations, move slower and pay less. For most Americans, it is unthinkable to quit a job and just take off. It is even unthinkable to ask the boss for an extra week or two unpaid. Heck, few of those that actually get 3 weeks vacation would ever think of taking 3 weeks off at one time. The American work ethic is like no other. The play ethic is also like no other. Buy an expensive boat that you only use on rare weekends. Get a $100,000 motor home that you only use a week or two a year. Because so many of us work so much, we have little time, and much money. So we equate money with fun.

I am partially immune to this, fortunately. Unfortunately my current girlfriend is not. She is working 60 hours a week or more in two jobs and only gets 2 weeks off a year. She took a second job to save money, but is ending up spending all of it for *fun* in her limited time off. She was not always like this, and I am trying to cure her of it, but it is an American disease. I blame it on our ancestors. immigrants from all over the world came here to work their tails off to make something of themselves. Many succeeded, but created this American disease.

Bob L

Shuttle vans makes me car sick.
I cannot take pictures.

I do not want to sit next to slimy tourist who came to see how the other side lives, voyeurs of people they believe have less, but not really.

I love a good rogue, a person who does not feel sorry for people, who just enjoys life.

I am positive this is not 100 percent true...
*I think the average person does not want to touch a Guatemala person, and for sure does not want to sit next to one*

However, it for sure is 75 percent true.

The backpacker will not get on the cheap buses, 75 percent take the Shuttles, close to refuse to take a Chicken Bus.

Status is a huge personal need or problem for people. They feel they get status by riding the shuttle. I rode for speed, but decided getting terrible sick for two days is not a good trade. I refuse to opt for the chance of getting sick.

Vacation.. people are on Vacation, they contiually say they want to relax and enjoy. I think it is incredibley stupid for a person to work two months to pay the 4000 dollars.

This is small penis and low self-esteem. They want to prove they can afford, and they ride shuttles to prove they are not the same as the locals.

Value, do you buy value, or are you complaining because you work too much?

Please, do not think for a second I have much respect for tourist. I do not, they are lemming going to purchase very bad deals, and trying to justify them as good deals.

Europeans are not smarter, their cultures are lazy, the central part of Europe was third world before the Marshal plan. Sloth and the avoidance of work is their disease and you can see it in Europe.

American cannot stop working long enough to see they do not accomplish their goals.

I one day asked myself,
"What would I do if I was a millionaire?"

I said to myself I would travel the world, so I took off, I did not need the million, this was fantasy. I needed to get my priority in line.

What you hear is a continous attempt to explain how people have their priorities mis-aligned.

Buying and consuming is not happiness, the people of Guatemala are quick to say hello, the Europeans are afraid, I see their eyes. I love to say hello and give them a good scare for kicks.

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