Travel notesIssue 09 | May 2010

Dragon Deluxe: Pre-Departure Tips

by Kayla Washko

This is great, you think—transportation and a show. You look around the bus to share this gleeful moment with one of your fellow passengers, but no one else seems as surprised or as excited as you are. 

The driver grunts. You note that this seems to be his preferred method of communication.

The driver reaches into the pocket of his brown Dockers and removes a wad of cash. He counts: ten, twenty, thirty, thirty-five. 

Then he counts the number of passengers, the number of seats. He smiles, satisfied. 

5) Keep your Arms and Legs Inside the Vehicle at all Times: After the blond guy and his girlfriend board the bus, the driver piles their suitcases in the aisle next to you: one overstuffed blue duffel bag, one matching set of Coach luggage. You can no longer see out the window, no longer reach the door. So much for emergency exits, you think. 

The driver climbs back into his seat and takes another swig of his espresso. Then he buckles his seat belt (the only functioning seat belt in the entire van), angles his body toward the backseat and says, Ready?

You remember the fraternity guy and wonder if he’s still inside the McDonald’s. You open your mouth to speak, but the Persian man beside you presses his index finger to his chapped lips.

You don’t say anything.

Neither does anybody else.

The driver grunts once more as he shifts gears. The mini-van lurches backward. You are finally on your way.

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About the author

Kayla Washko has lived in the mountains her entire life: as a child growing up in west central Pennsylvania, as a student studying abroad in Cuzco, Peru, and now as a graduate student living in the Mount Washington neighborhood of Pittsburgh. She studies creative nonfiction at Chatham University. Her work has been published in the Road Less Traveled.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok