Friday, 11 July 2008

in which Subtle gets pissed on and pissed off

Hi there, this is SK speaking to you from on the road. I find myself on a bus between Almelo and Hengelo, in the far east of The Netherlands, stranded on my way to visit my sister and her boyfriend.

I say stranded because that's what it feels like. In reality Dutch Rail has organised touring cars to ferry people between the two towns separated by broken points. I did my good deed for the day and informed a couple of Asian students (one had just yesterday graduated as an aerospace engineer in Delft, I later found out) of what was going on. Otherwise they may have stayed on the train and would have gotten a nasty surprise when it went back the way it came. A young man who overheard this approached me in the station and told me it had been a very nice thing to do. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind, which was that I just thought they could use the help, or some non serquitur.

After waiting fifteen minutes in the pouring rain, the first bus we saw offload passengers from the other direction parked somewhere at the opposite corner and didn't pick any of us up. The misery was only mitigated by something akin to the spirit of the Blitz amongst my fellow passengers and my forethought to bring an umbrella (which, earlier, I had to retrieve from a train I had already exited in Amersfoort.)

When another bus finally arrived I braved the torrential rain and ducked to slide my boarding case into its cargo hold and insinuated rather than outright pushed my yay on board. The weird thing was, the bus wasn't even half full when the driver stopped more people from entering and drove off. Others called out to him, but they were ignored.

By the way, we also stop at all the tiny stations in between. The man that just got on at Borne smells like stale beer and industrial desinfectant.


Willym said...

You are destroying my image of the Netherlands. And restoring my faith in TrenItalia.

SubtleKnife said...

Actually, they're pretty efficient. Which makes it all the more annoying when something breaks down. And they did have a bus service in place, it's just that they subcontract it to local companies. Or maybe I just got the asshole driver...