Early start to the day, woke up at 3 and decided I may as well get up, and get ready to go, I checked the progress of the bus on my handy greyhound app only to discover it was already an hour late. But the app also said there was a second bus running, but they couldn’t track that one as well, so I decided to go to the bus stop anyway in case the second bus came early.
Then there was the Las Vegas news, I got a message from Tayla saying she was glad I wasn’t still in LV and I thought what is she talking about, so looked up the news and read about the shootings. I was of course horrified and to think we had only been there eight days ago.
I left the hotel just after 4 am and walked across the road to the gas station where the bus stop was. A lady approached me and told me that the bus was cancelled, I said I had looked at it’s progress and it was on its way albeit about an hour late, but there was a second bus coming too. She asked me where I was going and I said Denver, and then she said it was the Los Angeles bus which was cancelled. She suggested that I wait inside the gas station shop as there had been a pervert in a yellow car coming in and out of the petrol station for the last week or so. So I followed her advice, got myself a coffee and some fruit and protein for breakfast and hung out by the door, constantly checking for the progress of the bus.
Eventually the bus was a few minutes away, and the timetable suggested a 5 minute stop, I was keeping a close eye on the timetable because I had to get out there with all my bags, the next thing I knew the bus had pulled in, and just drove straight out again, I ran out to try and stop it, but it was already across the road. Brilliant start to the day! Waited for an hour and still missed the bus! Still the app said there was another bus coming, so I rang the customer service number, to ask if there was another bus. What a palaver that was! I found myself getting more and more frustrated, when I finally got through to a human being, I was told, you have missed the bus, so you have to buy another ticket, the customer services woman on the end of the phone couldn’t tell me if there was another bus on its way, and said I had to wait 24 hours for the bus to reach its destination to confirm whether or not it had stopped at my stop. The next bus was at 5pm and triple the price I had originally paid, oh well it’s only money. We went around in circles for a while and eventually I decided I better go back to the hotel, instead of standing in the gas station forecourt trying to sort this out, so I thanked her for her help, no not really, and trundled back to the hotel. The girl on reception was great and instantly offered me my room key back and even extended my stay for a couple more hours at no extra charge.
I booked myself another ticket and got it printed out, and then went for some breakfast. The breakfast room had an air of sadness to it, the television was blaring with the news of the shooting, and everyone was silently eating and watching. The early reports were of far fewer deaths and casualties, of course as the day went on the full picture was slowly revealed, so sad for all those families to have to deal with such loss. It just seems never ending to me, the work we live in at the moment is one act of terro after another, and this was an act of terrorism, it was one of the reasons I was feeling nervous about travelling. Anyway this isn’t the place to dwell on the plight of the world.
Back to my room I rang customer services again and after much discussion they finally agreed to refund the cost of my original ticket, a small result, but I have to say I was very unimpressed with the way in which they handled the situation, it was like I was talking a completely different language, or they simply were not listening to a word I said.
I went back to bed to try and sleep, I managed half an hour, that was a big help! Eventually I left my bags at reception and went for a walk to find food and a belt, my jeans were falling down, after my weight loss, after that successful mission I went back to the bus stop at the appointed time, even though this bus was also running an hour late, and sat on a rock and waited until it arrived. I was eventually joined by another traveller. The bus arrived, the driver got off and said to me, “what do you want”, to go to Denver was the only suitable response I could come up with. So he took my ticket, loaded my bag and I got on. There were only a few seats left, and some people had bags on seats, so I had to ask someone to move there stuff so I could sit down.
So finally on my way some 12 hours late, I had also contacted my air bnb host to let her know of my disastrous start to the day, and she very kindly said that she would give me some money back as I would only be in Denver for one night. We had daylight for a while but not for long, the stops were not too frequent, and sometimes we were allowed 15/20 minutes to get off and go to the service station for food etc. Sometimes it was a 5 minute smoke break. I am sure the driver was talking to himself most of the time, and he kept brushing his teeth whilst driving.
We had a change of driver about midnight, and I must say I felt much better with the second driver, and a managed to fall asleep, so I slept on and off until about 5 or 6 am, when I noticed a car overtake us covered in white stuff! Could that be snow? My suspicions were soon confirmed, it was difficult to see outside, but eventually it became clear, there was thick covering of snow, and as the light came we were treated to some beautiful scenes, I took a few photos, but at speed so not brilliant. A small aside, my friend Maggie gave me a scarf for my travels, and had drawn some pictures of all the possible things I could use it for, well I used it as blanket over my legs Maggie, it was perfect, so thank you again.
Finally coming down into Denver, the snow disappeared and we hit the morning rush hour, seems like a while since I have been in one of those traffic jams. Unloaded into the Denver Greyhound Station, a very sad place, I went to the cafe for some breakfast, nothing much available that I wanted so made do with a coffee and a cookie. Then I ordered myself a Lyft, thought I would give them a chance for a change, and made my way to my accommodation. I had a bit of a rest and my landlady turned up for a short while, then I had a walk to the local supermarket and got some lunch and breakfast for the morning. Before I knew what was what, it was time to go out and meet a colleague from 20 years ago for dinner. Montse and I worked together at Daiwa, a Japanese Finance House in the city when I doing a maternity cover for my good friend Wilma. She has been living in Denver for quite a few years now, and really likes it. We had a great dinner and then she took me back to my accommodation, were I was greeted by Sarah, the daughter of my landlady. Sarah and I had a lively conversation for half an hour or so and then I went to bed. I slept better than I have slept in a long time.
The next morning I walked into the city centre, I must say I was quite taken with Denver’s tree lined streets and the sun was shining which always helps. I was making my way to the Denver Art museum, my time here had been cut so short by the stupid bus incident so I was determined to go and see something of the city. I had to walk through a park area and I was surprised to see many people living and sleeping rough there. It is commonplace in the UK but this was the first I had seen in the USA, and I was quite shocked that it was the park they were sleeping out in. I don’t really know why I was so shocked, I suppose because of the surroundings.
The Art museum was fabulous, two modern buildings, linked by a walkway, with art works outside, even the litter bin outside was a work of art. There were some cool seats, in a long line, which you could lounge in and they swung in twos, very cute and clever.
I was able to see quite a lot of the exhibits, but the one I enjoyed the most was Stampede, animals in art, it had a lot of humour and also some really beautiful pieces. There was a bit about clothing made from animal skins, which is an example of how wide the brief was, overall a wonderful place to go, I wish I had had more time.
I had to dash off to another part of the city for an appointment I had made and was running a bit late, so good old uber helped me out there, and then I caught the bus back but missed the connecting bus, so took the opportunity to walk through the suburbs back to my digs to pick up my cases and take me on to Broomfield to see my very good friends Ira and Sam. I really wish I had had the other day, but hey ho, what I saw of Denver I really liked. Next stop Broomfield.