Everybody has a story extracted from a hilarious, scary or crazy experience they had while taking public transport. Something about this mode of transport attracts interesting characters and a lot of confusion. In the second of this series we chat to three more travel bloggers and hear their crazy transport tales. If you like their writing click on the social media icons to follow them!
Todays first awesome story comes from Anna at Adventure in You
A Bus and a Muddy Ditch
I was on one of those dreaded buses from Vietnam to Laos (yea, the 20-30 hour one, depending on your luck!) it was the middle of the night, in the middle of some mountain and it was pouring rain. All of a sudden, our bus stopped. A gas truck had lost control and had blocked majority of the road. We would be stuck there for a long period of time if our bus didn’t try to squeeze through. However, squeezing through the small part of the road meant risking falling off a ditch and getting stuck there. It was a miracle that the bus conductor spoke a little bit of English as he explained their grand plan.
They wanted the passengers to stand in the muddy ditch to push the bus in case it fell. What they didn’t think of is what would happen if the bus did fall on the muddy ditch…while we were all there??? It was either that or get stuck there until morning, adding another grueling 10-15 hours to the already seemingly torturous ride. We were all in a sleepy haze and agreed to help with their plan. Although I have to admit, now that I look back on it, it wasn’t such a wise decision. So about 10 of us, stood by the ditch, muddy and getting drenched in the rain as the bus ever so slowly squeezed its way past as we pushed on the sides of the bus, making sure it didn’t slip into the muddy ditch. Luckily, we all survived unscathed. So we all got back on the bus, muddy and wet, ready for another 10 more hours. Only in Asia!
The second contribution comes from Kristin of I’m Not a Tourist I Swear
A Panic Attack Leads to a $20 Tip
It had been a long, trying day at work and the only thing separating me from bedded bliss was a 15 minute commute on a Brooklyn-bound 5 train. Only three stops and I was home. The train gradually approached its first stop before sliding open its doors so men in suits could come flooding in – simultaneously pushing from both sides until I was properly sandwiched between rank and odorous bodies (never have I felt more sympathy towards a sardine).
I counted the minutes as I swayed back and forth to the familiar motions of the train before suddenly hearing a shrieking battle cry (ok, so it was probably just the brake) as it came to an abrupt halt.
20 unmovable minutes later, I’m suddenly very aware of the fact that I’m still tightly packed into a rush hour train. Claustrophobia crept in – followed by a full on panic attack. Three tourists took notice and shoved me into their newly vacant seats while coaching me on all those breathing exercises I seemed to have forgotten.
They kindly kept me distracted with their anecdotal stories about their NYC adventures until the conductor informed us we were about to begin moving. However, we were promptly kicked off at the next stop – 1 stop too early.
As my newfound friends took their turn panicking over the fear of getting lost, I offered to walk them to their destination on my way home (finally!). As we made our way towards Ground Zero, I sprouted off historic facts about the surrounding buildings and sites along the path. When the time came for us to part ways, we exchanged hugs as one woman slipped me a $20 bill. I tried to refuse but they argued that I kept them from getting lost and to think of it as a tip for my ‘walking taxi tour’.
This last story for todays series is from Hayley over at Savvy Girl Travel
A Family Disaster
Back in 2008, I studied abroad in Paris, France. Being a poor student, I took the metro everywhere I went – no expensive taxis for this girl. That November, my mom and my aunt decided to pay me a visit. Both of them was raised in the Deep South in the US, and neither were accustomed to public transportation.
After accidentally taking them to a pornographic exhibition at the National Library (I wanted to see the library, not the art they were displaying) and wandering for at least an hour in freezing rain looking for La Durée (back when macarons were still a novelty), I decided to take them to a small resto tucked away in a corner of Montmartre (the hilliest part of Paris) called La Maison Rose. To get there, we had to take the metro. Around 5:30 on a weekday.
We queued as if we were Brits behind the Parisians who pushed and shoved their way into the metro cars. Finally, it was our turn. My aunt had a clear look of disgust on her face as she weaseled her way into the car, doing her best not to touch anything.
Meanwhile, a little old man wearing a flat-cap and a backpack strolled casually from car to car, peering inside each until he reached ours. He glanced at the three of us, packed in like sardines, turned around, and stepped backwards onto the car, wiggling to make room. My aunt gave an incredulous laugh: you’ve got to be kidding me. Then, somehow, the doors shut, pressing our faces against the glass, and we were off, barreling toward Abbesses, Montmartre’s metro stop.
Later, after a forced climb past Sacré Coeur and the search for La Maison Rose (before the days of Google Maps), my aunt intoned, “After dinner, we’re taking a cab. I’ll treat.”
If you have an awesome/scary/crazy transport story that you want published, please contact me to be featured in the series!