One of the best ways to see and appreciate culture is through the use of a country’s public transport.
Whether it is air-conditioned, full of chickens, or bustling with people from all walks of life, a bus is something that provides a confined space that is compact with culture.
Recently I had the pleasure of sitting on the back row (like the clichéd school rebels) of a bus in Gran Canaria. With four people in my group it meant there was one spare seat between us. And with a thirteen mile bus ride that took over an hour, the spare was filled by many different types of people.
The most memorable I was privileged with was a bleach-blonde, Dutch, five-year-old girl sitting on her mother’s lap. She was beautiful. As pure as innocence could lend itself- a demeanour clearly inherited from her mother.
I watched as she counted on her fingers in German, desperately trying to learn an alien language. I counted along with her in my head with my GCSE knowledge of the language and she was word perfect. She is and will be so bright, I thought. As they exited the bus I shared a smile of appreciation-of-purity with her mother; something I’m sure she has had five years to get used to, but still enjoys each one all the same.
Just as the young girl was trying to make a new culture a part of her, I was doing the same with the Spanish Island. My Spanish is limited and I wasn’t counting to diez, but there are more ways to have a culture become a part of you than learning the language. I was doing it by living for an hour in the life of a local and appreciating the mix of people travel entraps.