This is a travel blog for desktop travelers and other ramblers who want to know the world just a little bit better.

Right now I am living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala where I'll be settled for a while. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Ride through Sucre on Secondhand Buses from Japan

People who have been following the blog regularly or keeping up with my updates at The International Rambler on Facebook will know that it has been quite a while since I have posted a blog. The main reason for this is that a few weeks back I dropped my netbook and killed it. The second reason is that we actually have not been traveling at all. We spent the past month in the colonial town of Sucre, Bolivia -- our longest time in one place since 05/2010.  I was quite busy being a volunteer photographer for an organization helping working children (which I will eventually write about one day) and never borrowed Mika's computer long enough to blog about anything.

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Now that we are in La Paz my plan is to buy a new computer and get all caught up on my blogging. But there is a brand new development on the travel front which is that unbeknown to us until the most inopportune moment yesterday our ATM card expired at the end of July! Our cash-on-hand situation is not the greatest at the moment, so we have to lay low in La Paz (lay low = pay hotel at checkout and just eating) until the new card arrives in hopefully a few days.

With this extra time on our hands and Mika mostly caught up on her own blogging and engrossed in a new book I have convinced her to give up her computer long enough to do our co-edited Japanese Bus Blog.

I am not sure how it came about that these funcioning buses were deemed unworthy for Japanese passengers and got sent to the middle of Bolivia, but my guess is that it has something to do with failing emissions control tests.

Almost all of Sucre's public transportation system consists of used buses imported from Japan. La Paz does not have this type of vehicle, for example. They use a fleet of old, clunky Dodge and Ford buses. And these secondhand buses in Sucre come from a hodgepodge collection of private entities, many retaining their original markings. A bus that once transported Japanese kids to swimming school now brings Bolivians to the outskirts of Sucre and back. So let's take a ride through Sucre on these ghosts of Japanese transportation past..

Asking the bus destination
Shirakowa Kogen Country Club in Fukushima
East Itabashi Baseball Little League bus and the Bolivian Supreme Court.
They have been playing baseball for more than 40 years.
An airport bus headed around the park
Study Swimming School bus in front of the main plaza
 "Suzurango" - a senior citizens' daycare center
A Hitachi bus
Swimming school in Kooriyama
School bus
Kayama Captain Coast Ski Mountain bus owned by the famous actor, Kayama Yuzo
A pre-school bus
Kamemitsu Corporation "The Village of Dawn." Making healthy food from tortoises and honey.
Editor's note: I am amazed that any company selling edible products from tortoises makes enough money to own their own bus.
Mr. Negeshi's steel business in the Isezaki housing development 
Official driving school in Chiba
Satomi hot springs bus
Aomori pre-school
An ad for a driving school 

Tahara - a fancy Japanese style restaurant
Waterfall and outdoor hotsprings bus
Megumi pre-school
Healthy Land bus at the outlying turn around point for the city buses 
Marin Hotel - Sweetbrier in Nigata costs around US $100 per person with dinner and breakfast
These buses show that one Asian island's waste can be a landlocked South American country's treasure. And I guess the fact that these vehicles get a chance at a second life in Sucre, Bolivia is better than ending up at the junkyard in Japan.

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