As you crawl into the metal death trap, you suddenly realize that your entire life is in the hands of a 17 year old speed demon driver. You hope and pray to every god out there that your death trap has brakes this time. You duck your head and try to gracefully find a seat. The process of picking out a seat is complicated and depends heavily on the weather, other passengers, the length of your legs, and whether or not you have parasites in your stomach.
Is it melt your face off hot? Sit next to the window.
Is there a screaming child with a snotty nose? Is there someone who looks like a preacher? Is there someone that just looks smelly? Is there someone who has very obviously been eating heaping amounts of fufu for a very long time? Sit as far away as possible.
Do you have long legs? Aim for a seat up front or the second jump seat, sometimes the back seat on the right is okay too.
Do you have short legs? Go to hell.
Have you recently ingested large amounts of polluted water, funky looking stew, or food made my someone who very obviously has never washed their hands? Sit near the door.
Is it cold outside and you never packed anything semi warm? Sit in the middle – at your own risk.
Are you paranoid about dying in a metal death trap? Walk.
As you wait for passengers to trickle into the bus, you think about the upcoming trip. Will we break down? Will my iPod battery last the entire time? Will my Kindle run out of battery? Do I have snacks in case we get stranded? Do I have smallsmall toilet paper, just in case? Am I comfortable? If the answer to the last question is yes, then just wait until you start moving.
The tro is finally full and you set out for the great blue yonder. The first bump you hit is an adventure all on its own. The first bump gives you a good indication of how the rest of the ride will go. Do you instantly hit your head on the ceiling? What about your elbow, does it go into something sharp? Are you in a jump seat, did you just land in your neighbor’s lap? Do you suddenly have to pee? These are all important questions.
If you are sitting next to a window, you silently observe the world passing you by. You watch as goats and sheep continue to be dumb animals in tiny villages all over the country. You see children running along the tro. You watch as people suddenly realize there is a white person in the car. They point and stare at you. You can hear them screaming “Obroni!” even with all the windows closed. Which brings you to the question, why on earth are the windows closed? It doesn’t matter if it is freezing, those windows better be open. As you bump along you see beautiful trees and savannahs. You see farms and farmers. You see mud huts and crumbling concrete buildings. You watch as shops with colorful powdered substance packets zoom (or crawl) by. As you travel deep through the bush, you secretly hope you break down in the middle of nowhere. You want a tro war story. You want to survive deep in the bush until you are rescued, but you only want to do it once.
Depending on the tailpipe, age of the vehicle, and windows – you slowly fall asleep to the soothing mixture of carbon monoxide filling the car. You hope it is actually just the big lunch you ate.
If it is really hot outside, you hang your arm out the window and feel the amazing breeze on your one arm. Sometimes you stick your head next to the window to dry the sweat off your brow. When you bring your arm back in the vehicle, you notice it is now coated in a fine dust. It will take a really good bucket bath scrubbing to degrime.
On very long tro rides, you try and see how long you can go without having to knock on the walls of the car to signal the driver to pull over and let you urinate. You hope and pray that everyone inside the vehicle has not just ingested copious amounts of tea, otherwise you will be pulling over in about 45 minutes to have a 5 minute pee break.
Sometimes you are extremely lucky and get a tro driver that doesn’t turn on the radio. You look at the driver adoringly and hope he will become a husband. Of course you need to snag the decent ones. Should you be faced with the radio on a tro, you have two options – iPod at full blast or weep.
When you finally reach your destination, you check to make sure you have everything and curl into a ball and try to roll out of the vehicle. Ducking your head and holding your belongings, while snaking through the tiniest space is a difficult feat. When you gracefully get out of a tro, you are tempted to do a little dance, wave, and ask where the paparazzi is.
There is only one thing that is certain with tro rides – they will always be a true adventure.