Wednesday, 8 July 2009

The bonobus

This week I am travelling to Pozuelo every day to do some English conversation classes with a teenager. When I was first offered this work, my friends said it was too far out but I had to say yes as I needed the work and it has worked out fine. I catch the metro at El Carmen, change once at Callao for Monchloa and then hop onto a bus that is a 20 minute ride into the suburbs. Easy! I think it's because I am a Londoner and a public transport veteran. To me, this journey is no more difficult than going from Nunhead to Chingford (for example!) It's not a journey I would want to do too often but at the moment it is good.

And I get to travel on a "bonobus"! Now don't get excited. It would be great if this meant that my bus was driven by a grinning Irish mega popstar in a black t-shirt with shades and my journey was accompanied by a U2 playlist - my personal choice would have to be "I still haven't found what I am looking for"of course.

Today's "bonobus" was sadly defaced with Spanish graffiti. Every window and every seat has been tagged with Spanish lettering. Despite this, the bus is clean and efficient. My journey takes me out of the city, past the university and into leafy strets where the new houses are designed to cope with the climate. Each one has a terrace, a balcony or maybe a courtyard garden. Ivy grows up brick walls and there are roses blooming in the dried earth flowerbeds.

Between the blocks of houses there are wide areas of dry grassland bearing billboards. The Crisis has struck in Spain and building work has stopped for now. I feel like I have arrived in Milton Keynes circa 1986 when all the houses were new and everything is designed for the car driver. The old villages have been swallowed up and this is where the middle class families live with their swimming pools and security gates.


  1. Your journey sounds fascinating - better than any of mine from Chingford to wherever!

  2. Bless you. The bus leaves the city the same way that the VT bus goes and I smaile every time I go that way as I remember those times when I thought, I wonder what it would be like to live here and do this journey every day! Little did I know. Incidentally the bonobus is the name of the bus ticket (10 liek the metro one) but from now on all Madrid buses will be bonobuses to me!

  3. Hey, we didn't say it sounded TOO far, just that it wasn't in town! ;-) Though if I'd known it would take you somewhere akin to Milton Keynes, I might have simply locked you in your flat!!

    And this may be weird - but somehow I kind of like Spanish graffiti. Maybe cos everything is still a novelty here!!!

    But like you said, it must be good to get out of the city and you never know, this might lead to some more students in "posh" bits of town!!


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