Local Transit

Good Advice

On my third day in Dublin, I rented a bicycle. The bike was too big, the gears wobbly, but it was Ireland and I wanted to ride a bike. By the end of the week, I knew the back roads.  I rode the narrow shoulder past green yards, mossy little cottages set back from the road, bits of Irish countryside in suburbia.  I took the bus on rainy days. Mornings, I rode with students in school uniforms talking about homework, mugging in the aisles. I sat upstairs, peeking into the walled gardens at forgotten laundry.

In Austin, I walked past elegant stucco homes to the bus stop. Spanish oaks sprawled over the sidewalks, birdsong filled the morning air. In Tampa, I bussed 45 minutes to the abandoned looking downtown, inventing lives for the people getting on and off at strip malls. On the bus in Vegas, I talked with a beautiful showgirl, smiling and helpful, on her day off.

In Waikiki, I abandoned wheels and walked everywhere. That city belongs to locals in the morning. Barefoot surfers, heading for the waves. Old ladies, taking constitutionals in the shallows. Street artists, preparing for a day of bamboozling tourists. Once, I saw the human statue without his costume. He was in shorts and a tank top. I could see his dark brown skin. But his face,to his hairline and shirt collar, were completely metallic.

The pace of a bicycle, the bus, your feet, changes everything about how you experience a place.

This post has been entered into the Gran Tourismo HomeAway Holiday Rentals travel blogging competition.

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6 thoughts on “Local Transit

  1. That is so funny. I just saw the human statue riding his bike to work the other day in Waikiki. You are absolutely right about Waikiki in the morning. All the tourists are sleeping in.
    Aida

  2. Love it! My favorite lines?

    “Once, I saw the human statue without his costume. He was in shorts and a tank top. I could see his dark brown skin. But his face,to his hairline and shirt collar, were completely metallic”

  3. I love the picture up top!
    And you’re completely right. You are 100% guaranteed local flavor by jumping on public transit.
    My favorite are ferry trips back home to Sitka, Alaska.

  4. This is so so true. We took our bikes to Portland. What better city to ride around, and it was the best trip ever. For so many reasons. 🙂 good luck in the competition. This was beautiful.

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