It’s a known fact that I fail MAGNIFICENTLY at catching various forms of public transport, whether it be the last bus home or the only train journey valid with my pre-purchased ticket. This particular post is about the time that I sat on my train from Naples to Rome for a full forty minutes, at the station, and still managed to have the damn thing leave without me.
I arrived quite early, as I usually do, for my train. I immediately sought out McDonald’s for free Wifi. Which I think any self-respecting traveller does in this situation. I already had my open ticket to Rome, so I had no worries… the train would be there soon and all would be swell.
|Another occasion where I missed my train… Sighisoara to Bucharest, Romania
The train details flicked up much earlier on the screen than I thought, so I made my way to a carriage and found a comfy two seater to get settled with my bags. A khaki clad guy got on next to me. And then a business woman sat down opposite.
I sat there listening to Fall Out Boy (again, still feeling Young Volcanoes) for forty… yes… FORTY… minutes. I’m not sure which is worse… sitting for forty minutes on a train that isn’t moving or listening to one song on repeat for the same amount of time.
Five minutes before the train was due to depart I realised I hadn’t ‘validated’ my ticket. I looked a little puzzled (and embarrassed) as I read the English instructions on the back of the ticket in my head… and then out loud. Italian train tickets NEED validation, else you face hefty fines later down the line. Being a foreigner is no excuse. This was confirmed by the business woman opposite.
I had completely forgotten to validate my ticket at the little box on the platform.
The little box which was near the front of the train.
The little box which was probably, definitely too far away for me to manage.
The lady, who was doing her best to look apologetic, gave me one final shrug and another exaggerated sad face before I jumped off the train with my suitcase trailing behind me. As I hit the platform I realised the importance of the situation… if I did not make this train I might not make it to Rome at all that night.
I ran as fast as my little suitcase could go. In the back of my mind I was praying that the battered wheels wouldn’t fall off and leave me with no more than a handled box of dirty knickers. It bounced about, it squealed in utter dismay and it took a good three metres of upside down beats (like a boss) before it rectified itself and ran over my heel. I knew I was abusing my Jabber-baby-suitcase but…
The train was leaving in two minutes. I needed to get that ticket stamped.
An old man snatched my ticket and Grandad ran with it above his head to the stamping machine. There was a moment where I thought, “This man’s Grandad running may have just saved the day,” but just as I got back to the first carriage the doors slammed shut in my face. Thank you, Sir, for your splendid Grandad run, nevertheless.
Following this ordeal, I had one of the most pervy and bizarre nights of my life.
I’m not even joking.
I sat down in McDonald’s again and cursed their shitty Wifi… which was now not working. Who even wants or needs McDonald’s if the Wifi is not working?
I watched my static desktop background (unpersonalised, despite being mine for over a year) as it did nothing for about an hour, until some guy sat down opposite me and tried to talk. I don’t mean to be rude but you, mate, are NOT the kind of person I need to be speaking to right now. I might have even done the following just to reiterate my complete disgust of his arrival into my life.
He got the message after I responded to, “are you waiting for someone,” with, “if I was, it wouldn’t be you.”
Three hours after that long-ass hour, I got on the next train. I was looking for a quiet carriage, one with maybe one or two people in, in case I needed help, but with limited people to bother me and prey on my stash of Coca-Cola. I found one. It was split into two halves, which suited me fine. One half had a young guy with an IPod in, the other one had me and an IPod in. Oh… and all my bags. Hello, tourist.
A pair of sock merchants (yes, you read that right) sock merchants started giving me the hard sell on a particularly boring unpatterned ankle sock. They seemed alright… until the fourth time they walked through the carriage… with the same sock… and the same routine.
They were then followed by a man and his duck that had no bowel control. And then the same man again with his dog… that also had no bowel control. Maybe it was just a dog in the first place, and there was no duck? I was getting tired by this point. But there was definitely duck poo, and where that came from, I can only assume, was a duck’s arse.
Just before I thought my night couldn’t get more frustrating, a big, African dude sat opposite me and started asking me all the usual questions you would ask a hooker to create small talk over your pre-motel mojitos.
And then this happened…
“You so beautiful, babe. You so classy.”
“You so fly, you got me lovin’ you.”
“Why you don’t love me, doe? I am in love wit’ you.”
These are exact sentences that this drunk muppet decided to spout at me. Of course, he got the face too. But it took me threatening him with the police to get him to disappear. He returned a few minutes later… to offer me 50 euros and ask me to “lodge in his room.”
FUCK OFF, PAL. But please leave the 50 euros.
Luckily for me, a family that had also been up Vesuvius earlier that day (and recognised me) climbed aboard and into my carriage. I swiftly manoeuvred my baggage over the duck poo so that I was within eye sight of the group. Then I told them all about the creepy African guy, who seemed to think I was a rare breed of twilight-train strippergram.
The journey was better than the first half an hour of standstill at the station. Although, I didn’t sleep. You know, in case my not-so-secret admirer came back to dry hump my leg or something.
When I arrived in Rome at about midnight I asked pretty much every single person for directions to my hostel. If it hadn’t been me I’m sure everyone would have known exactly where the hostel was. But this is me… and EVERYONE gave me conflicting answers.
I walked for ages to a (probably) important square with a fountain in. I asked a boy for more directions but he couldn’t help because he was “off-duty.” My last hope was the really expensive looking hotel across the road. I tried to enter without stepping on the red carpet.
It kind of looked like I was trying to break in. With a suitcase. Through the front door.
I remember thinking…
Wow… this is a really fancy pants hotel. In fact… I am actually ashamed to be in here, in my dirty jumper and converse.
Okay, I’m just going to leave… maybe after I get a map. And complimentary champagne.
FINE, scrap the champagne.
The man behind reception printed me a map which proved that the instructions the hostel had given were actually back to front. It seems they meant left when they said right.
I was on the complete opposite side of town.
|Thank you, Spongebob
When I finally found my hostel… one hour later… I collapsed into my pitch black room. Most of my room mates were still awake and playing on various technological devices but no one said hello. I assumed arriving at 1AM pissed them all off. It was cold in the room. It was dirty everywhere. But there was a roof. And there was a bed. And I no longer had rain falling on me.
I guess that can be considered WINNING.
It still surprises me how utterly shit I am at catching public transport.
Just to let you know I have one post left to write from my first big trip overseas and that is about how we couldn’t make it to the Ice Bar… because we got too drunk in the middle of the day.
I’ll be back with that soon 😉