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On the bus to Ningbo (Beilun), I fell asleep. I needed this break — past 2 weeks were not easy for me, I felt much relaxed when I could go home. I have choosen the bus ever since the highway from Shanghai to Ningbo was complete and the bus service launched. I still remember the first time I visited Shanghai in 1989, my dad and I travelled by the ship, and it took a whole night. Nowadays the bus only takes 4 hours or less.

The bus is no different from the Greyhound bus I took in the US during 1997 and 1998. It has rest room, AC and the seat is confortable — another reason I could fall asleep. My initial surprise is that there are so many people in the bus station. I have been to Chicago bus station, it is nothing compared to Shanghai station. I can think of one reason: bus is a main transportation method for short-distance travel in China.

While in the US, bus is used mainly by people without a car and people who don’t like to drive; there are not many people fall into these two categories in the US. While travel using Greyhound bus is generally safe, I had one incident. One night, about 2:30 AM, while we were all sleeping, the tire blew out, luckily we were close to a bus station and it was summer. So we waited there patiently for several hours until another bus come to rescue. During another trip, a homeless guy who wear rags and had not taken shower for months, was going to sit besides me, it made me very nervous. I told him there is another person sits besides me. Luckily he found another seat. In Chicago bus station, I remember a guy who drinks colored drink (drug?), and saying some curse words. I think I learned the other side of the American society from all these bus trips.

I have not taken Grayhound since Summer 1998, after I got my own car and learned how to drive. I did took a bus tour in California. When the bus was in the mountaineous area of Yosemite National Park, I felt our fate is in the hand of the driver (or the God), a middle aged black guy. We all tipped him nicely. This reminds me another thing, while in the US, I saw bus drivers are usually more experienced, older and more patient. While in the bus from Shanghai to Ningbo, the drivers are younger and drive more agressively, they will try to race against a sedan, pass other cars using the ramp, from the right…at those times I really wish the seat belt would be working here.

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