It has been mentioned before on this blog that I have a tendency to avoid public transport due to my uncanny ability to attract the strangest, craziest, creepiest strangers in human sight.
I once had a crazy Italian man shout at me from the back of the bus before stumbling towards me and, much to my protests, stroke my hair with much enthusiasm before the bus driver intervened.
Another time I had a lady on the train ask me to watch over her little girl while she went to the bathroom, only to emerge an hour later, high as a kite.
I even once had a woman throw all my bags and suitcases into the aisle of a train in a fit of rage, for no apparent reason.
Like I said, Katy and transport are not the best of friends.
Unfortunately, public transport is an unavoidable part of travel and whilst not always pleasant, it is sure to provide excellent fodder for stories.
The first of my travel woes began on the very first leg of the trip when I discovered that the sound to my entertainment system, that same system I was relying on to get me through the 14 hour flight with its many new release and classic movies, was, naturally, broken. After two hours of many different air hostesses trying to fix it, and a few hints from me that an upgrade to business class wouldn’t go astray, it was concluded that the system was not repairable and I was instead compensated with three remarkably droll finance magazines to help pass the time.
Still on the high that comes with the start of a journey, I was unperturbed by the news and instead decided to rest my head while I could.
My optimism soon waned, and after a few hours I turned on the screen and watched the moving pictures in silence. I then came up with the grand idea that perhaps I could watch something with English subtitles. Sadly, the English movies only came with foreign subtitles. The foreign movies on the other hand…
I ended up watching a brilliant German film by the name of Der Ganz Grosse Traum, or in English The Really Big Dream. Based on a true story, it is a film about the man who introduced soccer to Germany and the trials he faced in that endeavour. A highly engaging story with some brilliant acting, I feel in hindsight I should be thankful to the faulty entertainment system simply for its part in leading me to this movie.
I was later unimpressed, as you could imagine, when the same issue presented itself on the second 9 hour flight. Thankfully, the plane was empty enough for me to move to a four seater, where I was able to stretch out to my heart’s content.
Other notable transport stories included: being interrogated at British Customs and nearly not being let into the country by a scary customs officer because I didn’t know the postcode of the address I was staying at; being on a train in Berlin as it ran over someone on the train tracks (which I spoke more about here); evading train controllers in Germany after discovering we had the wrong tickets; being patted down in a private booth at security in Abu Dhabi; and fearing death with every cough, sneeze and sniffle heard on every plane, train and bus after watching Contagion.
But it wasn’t all bad. The four hour train trip from London to Edinburgh was particularly pleasant, so much so that I almost wish it had been longer just for the chance to enjoy more of the beautiful scenery and the joys of being seated in a ‘silent carriage’. The short, one hour train trip from Ferrara to Venice was also enjoyable after we forked out a few extra Euros to sit in First Class. And let’s not forget the fantastic views that come with flying several thousand feet in the sky.
Whilst their were some dramas, there was a discernible lack of ‘crazies’, which was a welcome change. I don’t think I’ll be making best buddies with public transport any time soon, but I can be thankful at least that I survived without anyone stroking my hair or throwing my suitcases around in a rage.
Do you have any memorable transport experience to put you off travel forever? Do you, like me, attract the ‘crazies’?
Meanwhile, if you’d like to read some more crazy stories, Aussie writer, Kaitlyn, over at Transports of Delight has been documenting her latest encounters with weirdos on public transport. Check it out!