Los Banos Library

I had a new assignment today:  ride the local transportation to the library and check out the quality/quantity of books in my native language (Spanish) through the lens of 10 year old immigrant.  The City of Los Banos has a population of about 36,211 and is Merced County’s second largest city.  It was established in 1890, and it is historically known as “The City of the Spring Baths”.  It had been years since I had rode the city bus.  We are a small community and our only transportation is our county’s intra-city small bus transportation.  I called city town to ask for the number of “The Bus”.  When I finally got a hold of them and told them where I wanted to go I found out I needed to take Route 14.  It is easy to locate the most impoverished side of our town.  It is known as Illinois.  It is by the local hospital and the cross roads are West I and Illinois Street.  The majority of the area is populated with apartments, low income housing, and crowded streets of parked cars and a substantial number of young kids walking around.  Today was different because it was not just raining but pouring, and the streets were bare of walking bodies.  I parked my car and walked to the 3’x5’ iron-blue crowded bus stop.  Timidly, I stood close to the covered bench, but I had not umbrella and my books and bag were getting wet.  The three others that were also waiting did not bother to make some room.  A lady took a phone call and stood from afar which gave me a chance to take cover from the rain for a bit.

At 11:08 a.m. I hear the screeching sound of a bus approaching the sidewalk; I was nervous.  I had a crumbled dollar in my hand and my bag on the other as I stretched to board the bus and avoid the huge puddle that separated us.  The bus was small painted blue, white and yellow.  A Hispanic lady driver pointed to the ticket machine for me to deposit my dollar.  I was holding back the line because it would not accept it.  She asked where I was going and to give her the money.  She smiled when I replied, “to the library.”

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