One sunny day in Yeumbeul in 2010, after an afternoon in cramped quarters, during which I am pretty sure one half of my body tanned a different color from the other half, I decided to write this update on how to take a car rapide on the Malika – Yeumbeul stretch. I promise that none of this is exaggerated.
#1 Try to take it from a major bus stop. This way, there is a higher chance that you will have your choice of seats which (depending on the time of the day and thus the position of the sun) should be on either side of the back of the car rapide and not further inside it towards the front. You should choose the back if you want to be able to get on and off without difficulty. The only downside to taking the bus at a major bus stop is that you cannot judge the drivers driving before getting on. But they all drive with ambitious illusions about the abilities of their bus. (Though some are less ambitious than others.)
#2 Have exact change. And this is only helpful if you know how much it costs to take the bus to where you are going. Ask around before you get to the bus stop. But I would advice just having lots of change. If you don’t have change, when you pay the bus assistant, look him in the eye and say exactly where you are going. Then they know that you expect change (if there is change to be gotten). If he doesn’t give you change right away or after he has collected money from everyone else, say “Apprenti! La monnaie”. Ask him long before you get to your destination.
#3 Make sure you are inside the car rapide. If you have no choice but to get on a full car rapide, make sure you are inside it! If you find that you are hanging off the outside (as I once did), bang on the car or ask for it to stop so you can get off. Wait till it has come to a complete stop. Do not risk your life by getting off before it stops. I currently question the state of 3 of my toes after an incident like that. I asked them to stop and was trying to get off cos I realized that otherwise, I would have to hang off the car rapide. They slowed down, but I didn’t wait till they came to a complete stop. Ouch!
#4 Once you get on, hold on to something or sit down. I should say that lots of gentlemen take the car rapide cos they always give up their seats if a woman is standing. In the back of the car rapides, there are benches on either side. There are usually 5 people to these benches even if it’s a tight squeeze. So if you get on, and the bench is covered, but there are only 4 people on one of them, feel free to sit down and wiggle your way onto the bench. Everyone will move. And anyways, they would all do the same if the roles were reversed!
With these tips, using the car rapide in Yeumbeul should be a breeze. Be careful not to give the wrong person your money thinking he is the bus assistant. Annika and I almost fell for that one. Oh and one more thing, remember to leave all sense of personal space at home.