maandag 24 november 2014

Back in the Netherlands

Charter flights are cheap, but often have the disadvantage that they go at weird times.  This time we had to leave Portugal at a real unholy hour.  After the flight we caught the first train of the day to our  home-town of Amersfoort.  We had to transfer twice because of repairs on the track, so it took half an hour longer. And because of that we missed the bus to the part of the city we live in.

We are both not in perfect health: my wife has to use a walking-stick.  It doesn’t stop us making journeys, but of course we prefer smooth travelling without extra harassments. We were very tired when we finally got into to the bus from the station to our destination.

We were not the first to get in but there were still seats available. We took the two seats for disabled people; there was room for a wheelchair, so we were able to put our luggage on the floor in front of us. And we were very happy to sit again with the thought in mind that in less than half an hour we should be home.

The first stop of the bus is in the inner-city, near the shops over there.  A lot of people came in and the bus got really full. A lot of people had to stand. We were more than happy to have stepped in earlier. The bus started moving again and because of the winding roads you could see the standing people had trouble to keep upright.

When the bus stopped again only one person got in, but she made a great entrance. She was walking with a cane you see when people do nordic walking. Normally they use two of these, she had only one. She walked right up to us and started yelling at me. “Is there something wrong with your eyes”, she was asking me, “these seats are for invalids”. I looked at her in astonishment.  She tried to get support from the other passengers. “What a horrible man this must be! He’s taken this seat and makes a disabled person stand in the bus!” I couldn’t see any disability in her, apart from being overweight. But she went on: “Are you daft or what…?”

I didn’t had the energy to go into a discussion and I was fully aware that it’s hard to notice that I’m not totally in good health. Getting the other passengers on my side was unthinkable. They were all looking bland and not interested at all. I just wanted the yelling to stop. So I got up, positioned myself between our luggage and found a pole to hang onto.

She immediately smashed her body on the seat I just left. My wife was being squeezed to the window of the bus because the woman needed one and a half seat to sit properly. And she definitely showed that she wanted to sit properly indeed! I winked at my wife who sat there in great amazement. I can imagine situations like this not often occur in England.

The ride was quite rough but because there were enough people standing, it was not even possible to fall. I was surrounded totally. Even in this time of year, it was almost spring, it became hard to breath. I was smelling a lot of different body-odours, I hoped mine wasn’t the worst.  One man was breathing heavily in my face, his last meal must have contained a lot of garlic.

Two stops later the woman got out.

We were definitely back in the Netherlands.

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