It is hard to imagine that I am here after eight years. Eight years ago this country was structed by terrorists. Eight years later people are still sad about the tragedy. The president of the school sent all of us this message on September 11, eight years after the incident happened.
In remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001 flags have been lowered to half mast throughout our campuses, and bells will be rung at 8:30, 9:03 and 9:43, when each of the planes went down. Please take a moment to reflect on those who lost their lives on that day, and the meaning to you of the seminal event that has shaped so much of contemporary history, including right here in Western Pennsylvania, site of one of the crashes. May all of our thoughts include hope for greater peace and security throughout the world for all.
God bless those innocent souls!!!
It’s Sept. 16. I have done something marvelous today. I took the Pittsburgh public bus for the first time. I took 500 to the post office to pick up an international parcel. Actually, it is a packet from home. It was a long story before I took the bus. The school post office is not responsible to pick up parcels for graduate students. If I miss the delivery, I have to go to the very post office which is 1.2 miles away to pick it up. As I am so strange to the surroundings, I have to rely on my feet more than anything or anybody else. So I walked to the post office from my apartment yesterday. I was sort of taking my chance to go there as I knew by the time I got to the post office it might be closed. Expectedly so. The post office closes at 4 PM. It took me about 30 minutes to finish the 1.2 miles walking. And an hour or so for the round trip on foot. The signs in Pittsburgh are just as crazy as the patients who suffer from mental problems. Different pedestrians have different versions of how to get to my destination. And I was even in doubt about my map as the streets are not as straight as the map shows. So after figuring out where the post office is, I took bus today to get there.
It took me less than 15 minutes plus some walking to get from point A to point B. But the waiting for the bus is tortuous. I left the apartment about 8 AM, hoping to catch the one around 8:05 AM. The sidewalk on the Fifth Avenue is just very narrow. I stood two steps away from the bus pole. A 500 bus just passed me by at 8:05 AM. I guess the driver was either blind for not seeing me standing a little bit away from the bus stop or did not even want to stop at all as I was the only passenger there. So I just missed my bus like that. I waited, waited and waited… Private cars flew by me at 60 mph one after another. Whenever they passed by, I felt like being swept away by the gust produced by the cars as I was now standing right next to the bus pole on the curb of the sidewalk. The speed limit on the Fifth Ave. is 35 mph but I really suspect if anyone would obey the law. At 8:30 AM, that means I had waited for 30 mins outside, another 500 Bus came. And I made it. I got off the bus where I was supposed to and found my destination without problem.
I left the post office about 9 AM and I found the return bus stop which was on another road as Pittsburgh has many one-way streets. I waited, waited and waited… At 9:30 AM I got on the 500 Bus. I thought I could take a breath as I got on the bus. My Gosh! As the bus approached to the Fifth Ave. more and more passengers got on the bus, mostly were students and faculty from Pitt or CMU. All of a sudden, the bus was packed. I had to get ready to get off before the bus made a turn to the Fifth Ave. Who knows the bus did not stop at my bus stop!!!!!!!! It kept running and running at 60 mph. I guess probably the bus was so full and the driver didn’t want to stop and picked up any more passengers. I shouted at the entrance to the bus driver if I could get off. By then the bus had already passed Maryland Ave. Jesus Christ! At last, the bus driver dropped me at the roadside instead pulling over at the upcoming bus stop. I had to walk back home. By the time I got back to my apartment, it was almost 10 AM. The entire bus round trip took me two hours.
That’s Pittsburgh’s public transportation. It’s really not tourist-friendly. I have to live and learn.