Every bus has a both a driver and also a guy - let's call him a bus butler since I have no idea of his actual job title - who takes fares, helps load and unload whatever people can think to transport - a few days ago I road with a building's worth of lumber and human-sized bags of rice building a wall down the aisle, and I spotted a goat on top of another bus. But perhaps the bus butler's most important job is to communicate with the bus driver so no mishaps will befall the bus or its riders or, in many cases, other vehicles on the street, by a system of tapped instructions to the driver. In its simplest form, this involves letting the driver know that people are still getting on the bus (one hard slap to the side of the bus) or that everyone is safely aboard and the driver may roll (two slaps). But many times, the bus butler gets called into serious tap-dancing when there's real danger on the road - for example, when two vehicles with a combined girth too big to pass on a narrow road must do so anyway. In these dramatic moments, you suddenly see only the butler's legs and feet out the window, and then nothing, as he pulls himself up onto the bus roof to oversee the delicate but urgent operation, directing the driver with a selection of tapping noises and the occasional shout, as the bus and the other vehicle take turns jolting five inches this way and then that way to accomplish the seemingly impossible.
|The guy on top of the oncoming bus is getting |
ready to direct his driver around my bus.
The roads in Nepal are a very tactile experience. Whats good for the beast is good for the bus. And as far as I can tell, the system works just fine! Especially for its entertainment value.