|Refinishing seat frames in a bus workshop,|
Ciudad Vieja, Guatemala
Anything can be "Blue Bird"
when you have this plate!
Here in Guatemala, I got to tour a "factory" near Antigua that converts your childhood school bus into a suh-weet looking set of wheels, ready to take you from one town to another. The tour was offered by the non-profit Niños de Guatemala, and according to my tour guide, there are 32 such workshops in Ciudad Vieja (4 miles from Antigua) alone, a town of some 28,000 people.
How does this all happen? Your boring yellow bus, having reached ~10 years of age, is purchased at an auction in the US, after which it is driven down to Guatemala, likely loaded with spare bus pieces & parts. Per my tour guide & a documentary on these buses, the drive through Mexico for these folks can be a bit dodgy, as robberies are frequent and bribes often requested.
Once in Guatemala, the bus goes to a "factory" to be converted for local use. The workers then do their magic, for example:
*Ditching the snow tires & doing whatever mechanical work may need to be done.
|This baby's almost ready to roll|
*Imprinting the "Blue Bird" logo on whatever pieces they may have added or redone (seat backs, entry panels, etc.); doesn't matter that this work has nothing to do with the real "Blue Bird" company!
|Finished product hard at work!|
These "pimped up" buses at peak times will carry passengers packed three to a seat and standing in the aisles, not to mention of course the occasional live chicken. They will go speeds, distances, and over terrain never dreamed of by your school district for another 10-15 years or so at least!
|Hold on tight please buddy|