I was invited by my friend Dennis to go to The Roots concert this past weekend in Philadelphia. We decided to take the good ol' $10 China Town Bus because we didn't feel like taking out a $6 million dollar loan to fill up his car with gas. Yup, thats right, $10 and a high immune system will get you from NYC to Philadelphia in just under 2 hours.
Dennis, his girlfriend Kristin, and I, met in a small alley way of China Town. A stout Chinese woman politely screamed at us, "Where would you like to go?" I was impressed with how violently efficient the customer service was. Before we could reply, she shoved three tickets to Philadelphia in our faces. How'd she know we were going to Philly? It must've been the "I Love Cheese Steaks" fanny pack I had on.
The ticket lady ushered us towards the VIP waiting area and the bus showed up shortly there after.
We settled into our seats and prepared for an nice smooth ride to The City of Brotherly Love. Just as I finished covering every inch of the seat with hand sanitizer the same helpful Chinese woman exploded onto the bus and scolded us for getting on the wrong bus. Apparently she mistakenly put us on the bus headed towards Washington D.C., which would have made my "I Love Cheese Steaks" fanny pack WAY more embarrassing.
okay, okay, I don't actually own an "I Love Cheese Steaks" fanny pack, but I really do love cheese steaks, and if a fanny pack saying that actually existed...I might consider buying it.
We shuffled off the bus and hurried toward another line up the block that was supposedly waiting for the Philly bus. A quick assessment of the line showed a mix of all types headed in the same direction as us. Old Chinese couples, college aged kids, young black families, and Yuppies like us were all taking advantage of the cheap fare.
While waiting online for the bus I noticed a group of three thugged out homeboys. By "thugged out" I mean one of them looked like Michael Vick...without money. As I stared, I noticed a figure sashaying towards the group. Long flowing hair, glossy lips, and a walk that would put any top model to shame. The only catch.... was that it was a dude. I can't imagine what was going through the homeboys mind as the fabulousity strutted their way. Wearing skin tight jeans and more neon than a highlighter factory, our fierce figure directed a loud "haaaaaaayyyy yaaaaaallll!" at the homeboys. The homeboys turned, glared, and burst into a welcoming "Heeeeeeeeeyyyyy boyyyyyyyyy!!!"...woah, I haven't seen that much toe pointing and back arching since A.C. Slater cut a rug at The Max on Saved By The Bell.
That's what I love about China Town Bus, you never know what to expect. One second I think they're about to shoot a Mobb Depp video, the next I'm exposed to a part of the Gay community I had never seen before. Who knew?
After that unexpected episode, the line for the bus slowly starts piling in. As I get closer to the bus I hear a fight break out. The closer I get to the bus the louder the yelling gets. When I approach the bus door I see the bus driver making attempts at cursing in English at a dreadlocked man who has apparently "touched" him. This argument was definitely propelled by the fact that neither of the men understood what the hell the other person was saying. In an argument between a man with a heavy Chinese accent and a man with a heavy Jamaican accent, there's only one true winner.....Everybody listening!!! Once again the China Town bus provides cheap fare, AND excellent entertainment. They really should be charging more for this.
After 5 minutes of cursing under his breath in Chinese at the Jamaican man, the bus driver closes the door of the half filled bus and we're on our way. As we wind through the narrow China Town streets towards the Holland Tunnel, I have visions of cheese steaks dancing in my head. I can't wait!....The bus stops. I look out the window and we're right back at the bus stop. Nobody's quite sure why we're back again but things calm down when the bus driver lets a few more people on and starts the bus back up. We're on our way! Once again I have visions of cheese steaks dancing in my head as we make our way...right back to the bus stop. This time the bus erupts with complaints, threats and overall disdain.
Some of my favorites being:
"Ayo, Imma bout to chin check this dude if he don't stop playin' around"
"Yo, Son, just park the shit and save gas yo!"
and the winner by far:
"Ayo, stop playin' wit people's emotions, B!!!"
I assume whoever yelled out that last remark was SO excited to go to Philadelphia that he was brought to near tears by the bus driver's shenanigans.
The bus finally took off and for the most part the trip to Philly was uneventful aside from the expected boyfriend drama loudly discussed on a cell phone and pungent (insert ethnic food here) being eaten out of a styrofoam container.
We rolled into town in about two hours and as I exited the bus, the embodiment of Philadelphia appeared before my eyes. The Bus driver and Jamaican man who had been at each other's throats a little while ago, are hugging and bidding each other farewell. I don't know what happened on that 2 hour ride between those two...I guess that's what happens when you enter The City Of Brotherly Love.