Monday, August 16, 2010

Where school buses go to die

What happens to that dear 'ol bus that would take you to school and back when you were a kid? Well, apparently, the school buses all have their different personalities, just like the rest of us, and they all go in a number of different ways. And what do a lot of retired Americans do now? Why, they dress up in bright and loud outfits and take a trip to Central America - school buses are no different:

The brightly colored, former school bus is the backbone of the public transportation networks in places like Panama City, Panama. This one is actually from Cochabamba, Bolivia, which is a place that most Americans (and American school buses) don't generally reach, but it certainly looks the part of its Central American brethren.

The ones who invested more time and money into their financial retirement planning during the long days of carting screaming, bratty little kids around the suburbs have a few more options. Instead of working through retirement on the mean streets of Panama City, they are able to afford to settle down in relative peace and comfort not far from the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean, near a Central American beach:

Witness this former North American workhorse now administering a surf camp at the beach town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Life under the palm trees is pretty peaceful in Tamarindo!

Unfortunately, life in Central and South America is fraught with danger, and there's constant competition for jobs from newer, younger, fresher immigrants coming across the border from up North, so not everyone can keep up. And when the time comes when you are no longer up to the task of being a brightly painted, suspension-optional transportation kog in a Central American municipality's public transport scheme, you are just put out to pasture in the fields of, say, Western Argentina

With the Andes providing a dramatic backdrop. If you are fortunate, like this guy, your final resting place will be near a National Monument - Puente del Inca here, and within a short hike from Aconcagua, South America's tallest peak

But not all Americans travel outside the country in their retirement years - many simply try to take in the many, many natural sites that North America has to offer. And the school buses are right there with them!

Who knows where this guy started, but he only made it as far as South Dakota, where he was turned into a tourist shuttle for the construction site of the Crazy Horse monument. Definitely missing out on a seriously psychedelic paint job though!

And then, there's a few school buses that were clearly forced to retire much too early - their adrenaline is still rushing, their engines are still roaring, and the fighting spirit is still strong within these ones! Fortunately, there's a place for these restless, competitive types too - it's the All-American institution called the Demolition Derby:

The Battlebus, ready to bring the pain, at the Derby in Monroe, Washington

School buses racin' and bumpin' around the tight corners. Yeah, that shady spot under a palm tree on the beach in Costa Rica may seem nice, but that's not the place for these guys!

Well, apparently these are all the school buses I've got pictures of... and all the witty commentary I have to offer. But my mother is always upset whenever a post doesn't have a single picture of me, so let's solve that - here I am, roughly school-bus aged. Except that I was in Soviet Russia at the time, where there were no school buses, but I digress. Besides, you wouldn't want to see any pictures of me from high school in Kentucky... I'm not sure I even have any!

I'm guessing this is 4th grade, I ought to be wearing my blood red Pioneer tie, but I think fourth grade was when we all got a little rebellious and learned we didn't really have to wear them in these crazy days of Glasnost and Perestroika...

Ok, here's me actually with a one of the buses above too: clicky here!

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