ss_blog_claim=94754a6b1be8770ce22d6ccb8015a428 ¿Where the Heck are You?: What is a Chicken Bus?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What is a Chicken Bus?

Travel, by whatever means the journey asks of you!

Most folks figured out that a Mule Train is not an Iron Horse, but a caravan of mules; however, the Chicken Bus was a mystery for many. Chicken buses are a means of local transportation in Central and South America and a source of legend and lore for the intrepid traveler. The Chicken Bus is typically an old retired American school bus with a wild paint job, a roof rack for cargo and luggage, driven by a gregarious and fearless driver who races the bus wildly along rural roads and careens around mountain passes to deliver natives and their cargo to the far flung villages. Your backpack or suitcase is tossed on top with the indigenous cargo - pallets of textiles, sacks of grain and yes...crates of chickens! The Chicken Bus has risen to it's highest art form in Guatemala, where the regional buses are adorned with vivid and colourful murals. For those seeking motorized transport in this Quiz, the Chicken Bus was just what you were looking for!

The Elephant Walk was the #1 pick this week. Wanting a clever name for the Quiz's pachyderm parade, I chose to call it the Elephant Walk. This comes from Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" the theme song from the 1962 movie "Hatari!" Along with The Pink Panther and Moon River, it is one of Mancini's most recognized compositions. You can have a quick listen at this link:

One Hump or Two - the Camel Caravan came in a close second to the elephants. Camels come in two models - coupe or sedan - both are 4x4 with an awkward gate that is not as smooth as a mule or horse. The coupe would be the one hump Dromedary, the Ship of the Sahara. The sedan is the double hump Bactrian camel found in Asia, primarily the Gobi Desert of China and Mongolia, of which there are only about 1000 wild members left. Dromedaries have been exported to several areas including to the American Southwest in the mid 1800's. There is a large contingent of over a half million feral camels living in the outback of Australia.

Some people asked for "non-stinky" or motorized transport like planes, but sorry, no seats were available. Interestingly, twice as many folks would rather hitch a ride with their thumb than ride the Chicken Bus. It seems that many Baby Boomers are nostalgic for their college years and hitch-hiking around the country.

You chose your means of transport and then tell us about your journey - where did you go?

Travel, by whatever means the journey asks of you!

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