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This is a question Public Transport Trauma

Completely Underwhelmed writes, "I was on a bus the other day when a man got on wearing shorts, over what looked like greeny grey leggings. Then the stench hit me. The 'leggings' were a mass of open wounds, crusted with greenish solidified pus that flaked off in bits as he moved."

What's the worst public transport experience you've ever had?

(, Thu 29 May 2008, 15:13)
Pages: Latest, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, ... 1

This question is now closed.

Copenhagen Metro
Yesterday afternoon I went to Christiania to restock on a bit of weed, and as per usual I took the metro part of the way. On the way back, while at an intersection in the tracks, there was an almighty *POP* and a huge flash, the lights went out and the train rolled to a halt.

Turned out one of the power shoes that touch the live rail had caught on something and popped off.

Well...made it not so boring to me at least. And it fits the topic.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 12:07, Reply)
Essex trains.
This happend on a cold night in winter, and cold, i mean -6 Cold (For someone who lives on an island on the thames, it's cold enough).

Anyway, after having finished College that night, the trains get pretty packed with students also slugging it home, that is .. until it reached Chalkwell Station, and then the problems REALLY began.

We just stopped at Chalkwell Station, absolutly no idea what's going on, until 1 1/2 hours later we were informed that some cunts had put stuff on the line, and the train infront of us had struck it.

So We were stuck, at Chalkwell, for 2 1/2 Hours, after which we then pulled away, and got to Leigh on Sea station,.. which then they politly pulled the train out of service, and had to wait for the next one to come along.

What should of only took a 30 min ride home, ended up taking 3 Hours, all because some cunts had stuck some stuff on the line and nearly caused an accident.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 12:01, Reply)
Strange Man
I get the train very frequently. Sometimes alone, sometimes friends are on it.

On this particular occasion, I was alone in a carriage largely by myself.

We stopped somewhere, and a man got on. He was carrying a laptop. He chose to sit next to me, which I thought was little odd considering the plethora of free seats on the rest of the train. There are unwritten rules about that kind of thing.

Slightly perturbed, I returned to watching the countryside whizz past outside the window. Very pretty it was, too.

After a while, I became aware of a noise over the crazy jazz spewing forth from my headphones. It was the man next to me. He was breathing heavily. I looked around.


I nervously returned to looking everywhere but at him. I got off at the next stop. It wasn't mine.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 11:52, 1 reply)
Back in 2003 - 2005, I found myself in a long-distance relationship. This meant a lot of commuting, and I don't drive. Don't see the point in paying thousands of pounds, just to spend thousands more pounds to go places; etc, etc, etc, I'm sure someone else has mentioned by now the financial benefits of public transport.

Anyway, I was commuting a lot, from my home town of Liverpool, to my place of residence, here in North Derbyshire. Travelling on Sundays meant I needed to change at Manchester, then change again at Sheffield. This meant a lot of time was spent sat around at Manchester Piccadilly, on Platforms 13 & 14. Does anyone know why these Northbound platforms are so far out of the way, outside and exposed to the elements?

It was here, sat on a bench outside, on a warm, sunny late Winter/early Spring day in 2004, that my bizzare encounter began. I was approached by a group of 5 youths, aged around 18-22, and all looked to be of Middle-Eastern ethnicity. They sat next to me, and began speaking in a hybrid of English and their shared native tongue. Being on my own, I was obviously a little worried by this. My fear was not allayed when the youngest of the group suddenly turned to me and said "Good Afternoon", while the rest of the group sniggered.

I replied, and conversation started up between us. It was amicable; they asked where I was going, where I'd been, why I'd been there, then they told me where they were heading up to Leeds, and they'd just been to Manchester for the day because they'd been shopping. After a while bitching about train delays, the train arrived, and I decided that it'd be rude to not sit with this group and continue our conversation.

Old Father Time has cast his veil of uncertainty over much of the conversation, but I remember small parts.

- We talked about how my long-distance relationship was going. There was general agreement among my fellow travellers that they couldn't do long-distance relationships.
- This led into a joking reference to the fact that I must masturbate a lot. Unable to argue against this, I said nothing. The eldest of the group pointed to my right arm and told me it was clearly "just a wank muscle", while laughing.
- I asked if there was anything wrong with it, and they told me that they were Muslim, and that my wanking, in their eyes, was a sin, and I was going to hell for it.

Conversation then carried on with these Muslim chaps taking the piss out of one another, each claiming the other was clearly a hell-bound wanker.

I asked if it was difficult being Muslim, and their main complaint was about the white people that won't share a train carriage with them. I admit, I looked around, and the carriage was empty except us. The next carriage was full of people, but ours was empty. Of course, this made me somewhat angry, but more disappointed. These people were alright people, a bit crude, but certainly no more so than any white kids. This was just in the wake of the Madrid train bombings, but surely these would need to be the crappest suicide bombers in the world if they all sat in the same carriage, and had seemed to target just one infidel.

Anyway, I got to Sheffield, got off the train, and headed to my next train. I didn't get a phone number or e-mail address for any of my fellow commuters, but I did get some names. The one that seemed most interested in my relationship was called Shehzad Tanweer. Hasib Hussain was the one that was angriest about the treatment of Muslims on trains.

The conversation stuck with me for a long time, and probably changed my view on Muslims, and I became more aware of their plight in life and on public transport.

Then, of course, Shehzad and Hasib went and blew themselves up on the Tube in London, worsening the nation's view of Muslims further. Were they doing it for heaven? Perhaps they thought it would cancel out their wanking sins. Whatever, they were fucking idiots for doing it, and I found myself feeling very angry at them for it. I'm still angry now. I want to shout at them. The reason the carriage was empty, the reason Hasib was so pissed off, was because of people just like the person he went on to become.

Apologies for length, etc. Writing this out has depressed me a bit, actually.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 11:23, Reply)
Right now
I am stuck in Bath train station where some inconsiderate person has decided that pills are too easy on everyone and decided to jump in front of my train instead. Just because you want to end your life why ruin the life of the driver and delay the rest of us.

This is the second time in my last three train journeys that this has happened.

Public transport is bad enough without this.

My advice, if you need to kill yourself then the cornershop will gladly sell you as many pills as you like.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 11:15, 4 replies)
Repeat to fade
It is 11.30am. I am at work. At work because my boss refuses to let me have the full day off, because the hospital I am going to doesn't open for visitors until 2.30. This would be fine. Except she fails to understand the hospital I am going to ISN'T IN THE SAME CITY and I CANNOT DRIVE. Because my dad had a stroke two days before my third driving test (though, to be fair, when it's a third driving test, that's hardly an excuse. I have become accustomed to being told 'unfortunately, miss..' whilst still gripping the steering wheel with sweaty palms).

Anyway. I have been at work since 8am, up since 7, and I am permitted to leave at 11.45. I have sorted out my work. I now have a choice. Go pee, or go eat. I go for a pee.

I leave at 11.45. I have 30 minutes to get to the train station.The train station is 25 minutes walk away. I have no change for a cab. Bloody cashless society. I run. I am carrying my dad's clean washing in a rucksack on my back.

I get to the station in 25 minutes. I am sweaty. I buy a ticket. There is a huge queue because of the ten machines, six are broken. I get a ticket. I have four minutes to get to the platform. I look lovingly at Burger King and McDonalds. I run towards the platform. I am wearing a jumper. Sweat runs down my back.

I get on the train. After running for those four minutes, the train decides to sit and do nothing. The doors open. A very rude man holding what looks like a ping pong bat tells us the train is broken and to get off. The train is cancelled. Wait an hour or find another, he says. An old woman didn't hear him. TRAIN CANCELLED, he screams.

I get on a train to a different station, which takes twice as long. It's packed. I stand. The person next to me smells. But so do I.

I get to a station I had no intention of going to in the first place. It is deserted. It starts to rain.

Since I have no idea of what bus I need to catch to be where I need to be, I walk two miles to the next village over and catch a bus to the hospital. This takes an age, because the bus is shit, and a lot of thick people don't understand the concept of removing the fare from the purse/wallet in the bottom of their bag FIRST and holding it in their hand.

I get to the hospital late, to a very upset and confused dad. I am the only one who can understand what he's trying to say. I apologise for the trains, the buses, try to explain. The nurses are rude. The hospital is dirty.

At 4.30 I leave the ward and go to the hospital cafe. It closes at 4.30. Which means you either visit your loved one or you eat.

It's two hours to the next visting time, and though I am less than twenty miles from home, I can't nip back for dinner. I walk (minus the backpack, thankfully) to McDonalds, some four miles away. I am so upset, I can only eat a happy meal. I don't know why.

After evening visiting, I leave the hospital at 8pm. The nearest train station is lonely, deserted and dangerous, and I am scared. Despite the jumper, I am cold. I want to cry. A group of seven or so lads carrying cans of Strongbow wait next to me. I am scared. The train comes twenty-two minutes late. I get to my home station at 9.30. I get home at 9.50 and am too tired to eat, so I go to bed, knowing that I have to do the whole thing again the next day.

The worst part is knowing that on a Sunday, inexplicably, the transport powers-that-be think LESS people will want to travel (I mean, when given a day off, why waste it going somewhere!? Shopping with your partner? Visting your parents? Do me a favour!) And either run a 'Sunday service' (bus/train only runs every 2 hours) or just plain not run at all.

Six months on and my dad is much better. I have bought a car. The journey takes twenty minutes.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 10:56, 3 replies)
Brighton to London, eventually
Being from Essex, but at uni down in Brighton, and sans driving licence, I've come to be quite familiar with the trains between the two cities, so much so that I don't need to check the national rail journey planner any more.

First mistake

On the Saturday before the Easter Holdays, I arrive at Falmer Station, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 8 am, to find that there are engineering works on the main line.
I have three choices
a) train to town, bus to gatwick, stopping at three bridges, haywards heath et al and train to London Bridge

b) train to town, train to Chichester, train to Victoria (or more likely, train to Redhill or Reigate, then train to Victoria)

c train one stop to Lewes, fast train to Ashford, train to London bridge

As I had an army surplus burgen full to bursting, and a laptop case with laptop, compact desctop and plenty of coursework (although not that much as I study chemistry)
i feel that a bus, or unnecessary walklng (ie going across the footbridge) is out of the question, I opt for Ashford.

Second Mistake

En route, i have another look at the map, and decide that St Leonards might be a better choice to change at. I disembark and...45 minutes til the next train, and its a stopping service. When it arrives, I board and soon realised that I've sat near the nutter.

Now I'm quite a nice guy, JWs will not be told were to shove their watchtower and parliamentary candidates will not be informed that i think they're a party droid parachuted into a safe seat, and that i hope the greens give her a right royal black eye nex may or whenever.

So an hour and a half with, mabey nutter wa unfair, but she was talkative and annouing (she was also old and with a baby in a pushchair , so none of that). Thwe conversation proceeds, inbetween her trying to get the ticket inspector to let her off a fine as she dropped her handbag and lost the ticket (and return ticket to Glasgow) at Hastings, feeding the bairn, and hanging out of the door for a fag at every station.

Turns out she was staying at a freinds house friends house before returning to scotland and and was headed for aldgate east, being the nice guy i am, i tell her that her best bet is to get the northen line to bank/monument and the the district line. As I was hungry and the conversation had gone in the direction of "I'm no racialist, but..." somewhere around New Cross Gate, I popped to Borough market for lunch.* What do i find, the northern line and the jubilee line are out for engineering works, not only have i sent Scottish lady on a wild goose chase, but I'm now buggered

third mistake

so, with a metric fuckton of my posessions digging into my shoulders, inlcuding computer gear worth about £1500, i set of for London Bridge and then Fenchurch Street. Now I grew up thinking that "South of the River" was a foreigh country. ** which bacically means i wandered through what may or may not have been Bermondsey until I find Tower bridge instead.

fouth mistake

My Mother used to work in a bank in the city, from leaving school at fifteen with no O levels untill sprogging my older sister 15 years later. She can organise a day up london for a easily borable small boy, plus frieds on occasions and only have to pay for food and travelcards. so I know my way around central London fairly well (apart from that strange land on the wrong side of the river). However, instead of turning left at the norther end of the bridge, i go right and end up wandering through st Katherine's dock, silently fuming at my own specialness and wanting to blow up all these rich fuckers' boats. althogh as aplus point i stumbled across the awesome Battle of Cable Street mural, www.eastendtalking.org.uk/OurHistory/CableStreet/images/mural/CableStreetMural.htm

Anthoo, i eventually arrive, at Aldgate East of all places! Fortunately, she's nowhere to be seen and i head off for home

On arriving and recanting my tale of woe I'm chirpily informed "you should have called, we went to bluewater today, so I could've picked you up from Ashford."
bother said Pooh.

muchos apologies for length , and shameless advertising

*Maria's market Cafe, lovely steak and muchroom baps, nom nom

** this is actually true, when my Nan took me up London when I was about 6, I thought the Greenwich foot tunnel went to Ireland, despite the fact that Island Gardens is very much north of the river. then again, i thought my aunt and uncle from Swindon were Swedish.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 10:26, 1 reply)
Untied Airlines and BMI
I booked a "really good deal" on a flight from San Francisco to Manchester at Christmas two years ago. My destination was actually Scotland, but this flight was £180 less. How much longer would it take, when you added in the 24 hour door-to-door travel time of my international flight?

The first leg of the flight was SFO to Chicago. I was early. The plane was not. In fact, the plane was still in Chicago, where they were having weather problems. It is beautiful in San Francisco.
Nobody can tell me if my later flight has been cancelled because: "There is no way for me to know that m'am. Please wait behind the rope for me to call your name." After searching every bit of paper that came with my ticket and confirmation, I find a phone number for an automated service run by the airline for the sole purpose of informing passengers about flight delays and cancellations. I phone it. My second flight is taking off in an hour and a half.
I report this information at the desk, where I am assured that they don't give a fuck and that I need to wait for my name to be called. Eventually it is, and I am one of the "lucky" people going on a different flight to Chicago.
By this time it is getting quite late, and I am worried that I will not make the last flight to Manchester. There is some talk of routing me through a tiny Russian airport, but they will only issue me new ticket as far as Chicago, because technically I haven't missed my next flight yet. I try to explain to surly staff that I would rather stay an extra night in San Francisco than be stranded in Chicago - Can they promise me I will be able to leave Chicago today if I take this flight? I am once again reassured that they don't give a fuck, but that this is the only ticket I'm getting, so I had better get on the airplane. I do.
The flight is uneventful, but I am already exhausted. In Chicago, I am given a ticket for a flight to LHR. I am told to run to the gate, it is a close connection. I run and I run and I run. I drag my suitcase with me (berating myself for bothering with a large cary on) and I run. People stare. I run some more. I pass through a second security check into the international terminal. I am advised that I should run to my flight. Yes. I will run.
I arrive at the gate. I am wheezing. I smell. My flight is delayed by an hour. The cleaners didn't turn up. Everyone has known this, they just didn't bother to post it on the board. I ask if I might go and fetch a bottle of water from the duty free shop, having passed through security and surrendered all my liquids. I am told that leaving the gate area after boarding has started (though the plane is not yet cleaned, much less accessible to passengers) will lead to the cancelation of my ticket. I manage to find a phone card machine (the pay phones will not take an international call with a credit card, nor, as I discover only at that moment, will my mobile make an international off-own-carrier call) and spend $20 on a 3 minute call informing my partner of my new flight information.
Eventually I am permitted to board the plane. Despite the extra hour for "cleaning," my pillow and blanket are used, with curly hairs stuck to them. Four peanut M&Ms are in my seat. One is undiscovered and melts onto my ass. It is yellow. It falls off on the floor of the airplane toilet four hours into the flight.
I eventually arrive in London. I have not slept. have no ticket booked for the rest of my journey. I eventually push my way into a queue of angry passengers waiting to use "courtesy" phones and ticket stations to get tickets to their true destinations. There is a young asian man in the queue for the phones behind me who I recognize from the death march from the SFO flight. He does not speak English, but points at his ticket. His original itinerary was the same as mine. There is no human for him to talk to. Only one of a bank of red phones. When I eventually reach the front of the queue and begin to negotiate with the insane woman on the phone for my ticket to Manchester, the young man hands me his ticket as well. I attempt to explain his situation, but am told I can only get information about tickets I booked under my own name. I am asked if I am willing to run to make a flight to Manchester leaving in half an hour. I will run. I ask her where to send the young man for help. She doesn't know because she has never been to this airport. I abandon him.
I run again. More running. I stumble and scuff my new boots. Everything is an exhausted, dehydrated blur except for the fact that now I am disgustingly filthy. I make it to the gate.
The flight is delayed. Something is wrong with the plane. Not to worry, there will be more information and we will probably be boarding in 40 minutes. I find a coke machine and manage to ingest my weight in sugary drinks. I watch a tiny wall mounted TV that details how airports in the north of Scotland are closing (remember that blizzard?) first the islands, then Aberdeen, then a host of tiny regional airports, then Inverness... 40 minutes pass. We are told that the problem hasn't been found, but not to worry because we will be boarding in 40 minutes. 40 minutes pass. We are told that the problem hasn't been found, but not to worry because we will be boarding in 40 minutes. 40 minutes pass. We are told that the problem hasn't been found, but not to worry because we will be boarding in 40 minutes. 40 minutes pass. We are told that the problem hasn't been found, but not to worry because we will be boarding in 40 minutes. I am not really sure how many times this happens before I try to negotiate with the well groomed man who is honest-to-god filling his nails behind the counter. Could I go on any flight up north please? I am not attached to this flight. In fact, Glasgow or Edinburgh or any tiny regional airport within 250 miles of Manchester or my actual midlothian destination would suit me just fine. I do not want to spend the night snowed in at LHR. It is not possible. My bags are already on this flight and they can't permit me to fly without them. I spend four hours waiting. Eventually a different plane is brought in from CDG (France!) and we are shoveled onto it. It smells. I smell. It is disgusting. The young asian man is not there. (I am truly sorry. I only hope you managed to get on a better flight than I did.) I do not see him again.
I arrive in Manchester, 13 hours late. I slept about an hour and a half of the last 48. My bags are not there. My bags are in Chicago. The same bags I was assured were not going to be offloaded from a plane we never wound up flying on so that I could take an earlier flight. They eventually agree to send them to Scotland when/if found. I am thankful for the changes of clothes in the massive cary on bag that I ran all over three airports with. The drive home is a blur - I am asleep. Eventually my bags are returned via courier, three days later. They have been dumped out, every item of clothing is unfolded and covered in white beach sand. One knitting needle is gone.

On my flight home, all is fine from Manchester to Chicago. My Chicago to SFO flight is fucked. They have overbooked it. I am eventually helped by a random member of airport (NOT airline) staff who notices that my bags have been mis-tagged and are not booked through to San Francisco. She fixes it. I am given a first class ticket. It is the last one available on a new flight. To Denver. The flight only stops there, before going on to San Francisco. On the plane, it is noted that I am only actually booked through to Denver. I am booted off as soon as we arrive. I am fucked. There are no people working at this airport. My checked cases are still on the plane - they are ticketed through. A true first class traveller comes to my rescue. He overheard my plight when the unhelpful stewardess booted me from the plane. He has a magic frequent flyer gold card. I am lead to some kind of secret, fancy underground lair where a woman with big, big hair berates me for changing my flight to this Denver nonsense, and eventually books me back on the same flight to San Francisco. But only if I am willing to run back to the gate.
I run. The flight has been delayed. I am eventually seated and returned home. Four hours late.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 8:49, 1 reply)
Ear phones
The batteries ran out of my portable CD player. Ah, no. No. It's not the music that I'll miss, it's the sanity of complete isolation. With those huge headphones strapped on my head, no one talks to me. And now the batteries are dead. And I'm on the bus. With nothing to read. Oh, no. No.

Solution: I'm the only one that knows the batteries are dead. So I'll sit for a while, bobbing my head, pretending that everything is fine. Yeah.

I must have done too good of a job and now some teenage boy is tapping me on the shoulder. I turn around, remove one earphone from my head and resume the most annoyed expression I can.

The boy says, "Oh, can you turn that music down? It's really loud!"
"Okay..." I reply, amused. I fumble with the dial on my dead CD player. "Better?"
"Ah, yes," he says, a look of blissful contentment creeping across his face. "Thank you."

True story.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 5:08, 2 replies)
badly organised
went to "surprise" a friend at the train station. turned up, rang friend. bugger. you're not here. where are you? ah. you already got the bus to ours. ok. no prob.

we go out of train station. there's a tram! we run at it. ok we're on!

ok. so where is the friend? just waiting at the tram stop. but hang on, are we going the right way? didnt the tram go this way on THE WAY HERE? kay! kay! i think - ssh, not now FPW. yes but -. the world goes rushing by. KAY WE'RE ON THE WRONG TRAM.

excellently done. we are now twice as far away from our friend than if we'd stayed at home and she was still at the train station.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 3:03, Reply)
dirty bum
I was on the train to Sydney one day and saw the grossest thing I've ever had the displeasure of seeing (and I've seen fat, hairy 55 year old men in rubber g strings being spanked).

It was an early morning commuter train, so a fair number of the passengers were sleeping. Most of them did it every day and were well prepared with blankets and blow up pillows, especially as this was winter.

The passenger sitting on the other side of the aisle from me she must have had a cold as she kept sniffing, but was sleeping comfortably so didn't stop the filthy (and I mean covered in dirt and stinking) homeless man from sitting in the vacant seat next to her.

Now, being winter and this man having nowhere to live, he'd picked up a cold himself and was wheezing away for a good five minutes before it occured.

He hacked and coughed for about 10 seconds and then the greenest, thickest, rankest peice of lung cheese came flying out of his mouth and landed on her hand. He must have been embarresed by the occurance as he promptly got up and shuffled off.

The wetness on her hand must have awoken the lady as she slowly opened her eyes and looked at it.
Seeing no one (she thought) looking at her and with no evidence that anyone else could have done it, she leant down and quickly sucked it into her mouth, hoping no one had noticed.

I nearly threw up and then nearly choked laughing, but the lady, none the wiser, calmly went back to sleep.

I shudder to think what she caught by ingesting that, but I think it does show that what you don't know CAN hurt you.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 2:48, 8 replies)
Not so much trauma for me... maybe for the Chinese Man
Old Homeless Man with the very dirty hands to a very Chinese man sitting closely beside him on the subway in the priority seat for two (approaching 2nd avenue):

"Whenever I get to 2nd avenue on this train i think of that Barbara Streisand tune '2nd Avenue'... you know that tune?"

Chinese man gets right up and walks across the car and speaks in Chinese to someone else.

The train passes 2nd avenue and arrives at Broadway-Lafayette.

Old Homeless Man to me: "Excuse me sir, which stop is this?"
"thank you... you know, whenever i pass 2nd avenue i think of that Barbara Striesand song '2nd Avenue'... you know that song right?"
"No sorry, i actually don't."
"Really?? wow it's a classic [sings a choice few lines] ...it's just one of those great cuts. A real great track...
...so 2 more stops, then i get off at 14th street. Then know what i do? Run right across the street to the liquor store and right back into the subway and get drunk. Right to the liquor store and believe it or not i actually have the money. I actually have the money. Right to the liquor store. What else am i supposed to do?"

As I turn to get off the train he says:
"Stay strong!" [to himself somewhat] "....one more stop and it's 14th street!"
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 2:10, Reply)
Meh again
Drunk minibus driver.

Playing the Ramones at loud volume.

Smoking cheap cigarettes.

Speeding and overtaking lorries.

On hair pin bends in the Andes.

Almost shat myself.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 1:45, 1 reply)
On the Reading to Waterloo line
a couple of years ago, the carriage we were in stank. We chalked it up to the toilet nearby as it was hot summer and so we assumed that a messy one had simply been stewing in there for a bit.
However, people kept going for the corner seat in the section next to us, and then moving quickly away.
As the carriage got a bit emptier, one of us went over to have a look and found that someone had pulled up the cushion, taken a huge shit on the plastic base, and then carefully replaced the cushion, smooshing it around.

All of the good deeds I have seen since cannot change my mind about humanity, ever.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 1:34, Reply)
I used to fly from London to Glasgow and back again on a regular basis. It was a pretty tame flight normally but one trip stood out.

To start with, on the flight into Glasgow the wind was from the wrong direction which meant that we had to approach from a different angle. This meant flying down a valley, descending all the while. There's something deeply wrong with the world when you're looking out of an aircraft window and the sheep are above you.

On the return journey things got even more freaky. There was a storm cell right above London and our flight path took us straight through it. I've clocked up around 1000 hours flight time over the years but I'd never seen turbulence like this. It threw the plane around as if it was made of paper. Eventually the pilot regained control and we levelled out for the landing.

BOOOM!! An enormous explosion lit up the right side of the plane. The bang was probably one of the loudest noises I've ever heard. I was absolutely convinced that a bomb had gone off and we were going to die. I can remember sitting there, chanting in my head:

"I'm not going to be the first to scream, I'm not going to be the first to scream"

The plane was eerily silent. Probably because everyone else was chanting in their heads "I'm not going to be the first to scream..."

Eventually the tannoy spluttered to life and the pilots calm voice crackled:

"If you're wondering what that noise was, we've just been struck by lightning. It's a very common occurrence and nothing to worry about"

Yeah. Right. Now who's going to pay for my trousers, fly-boy?

(, Sat 31 May 2008, 1:29, 3 replies)
On a ferry in Brazil a few years ago I was severely hungover and not in the best state of health to cope with the pitching of the deck. In fact I was distinctly queasy and every orifice desired to leech fluid (with or without chunks) at the nearest given opportunity. To complement the feeling of having drunk Castrol GTX my tongue was dry and furry, my head was pounding, and every extremity ached and throbbed (and not in a good way).

At this point a man, somewhat resembling Ivan Jelical from Viz, plonking himself down next to me and started talking to me in Portuguese. He held out a religious phamplet and started pointing at it. I tried to explain that a. I was hungover, b. I am an atheist, c. my portuguese wasn't quite good enough to understand his Revelation style meanderings and d. would he please fuck off.

After 40 minutes of me slumped there, getting increasingly sick, listening to him go on and on I finally managed to fob him off on some Germans near by. He left me a leaflet, which I later read and which revealed that he was a member of some political party that advocated a return to 'Jesus's Reign' as a political program.

The other really bad time was when I was on the Tube from Richmond to Kew Gardens. I was off to the National Archives to do research. I'd just started my Master's Degree and this was my first time going to the Archives. I was full of joy, hope, and other assorted 'slushy' feelings. I sat down, and opposite me sat a gentleman of about 40.

He was wearing a long, dull grey-beige flashers mac, a pair of lycra shorts, a shirt and a tie. His unkempt, rat tail hair, fell unwashed over his collar. He smelt of vomit. Every few seconds his gnarled and chewed hands would rasp over the bristly stubble covering a canaverous face.

This gentleman carried two bags. One was full of oranges, the other full of random bits of paper. He took some paper out of one bag, shuffled it, burped, exuded a greater smell of vomit (causing the rather attractive afro-caribbean girl, whose ample, and gratifyingly visible, cleavage had been a distinct pull upon my gaze, to hightail it to the next carriage), looked up at me and, fixing me with a gimlet stare, slowly lifted his shirt up to reveal a greying string vest covering his pockmarked stomach.

We stayed like this for maybe 15 seconds... he, with his shirt lifted up, his bag of oranges and his bag of paper next to him, me, with day time sexual fantasies suddenly replaced by the image of an insane tramp showing me his stomach.

This vision then opened his mouth, and said to me:

"Are you staring at my oranges?"

I mumbled no, and he put his shirt back down, and went back to shuffling his papers. A few minutes later the train pulled in to Kew and I got off.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 1:28, Reply)
Greyhound, Canada
In January 1999 I toured Canada. That's right: January. In Canada. I wanted to see some snow, didn't I?

I flew into Toronto, and had a flight back from Vancouver ten days later. After a few days, I thought I'd head west, young man, and thought I'd see what was happening at YYZ. I went on standby and got the very last seat on a Canada 3000 flight, and only as far as Edmonton. Which I hadn't planned to visit, but, hey, I was a freewheeling spirit, man. I was crammed in to a middle seat, between a smelly old lady and a fat guy, who played an electronic Craps game for four straight hours. Oh well - I got to see the largest shopping mall in the world - a capitalistic nightmare - and walk around in -20°C till my ears fell off. Pretty town, with absolutely nothing at its centre.

Next stop: Calgary. Greyhound pulls out... 10 minutes down the road, and the bus heater ices over and fails. We pull off at a depot, get out, wait for a replacement bus for an hour. 10 minutes down the road, and the new bus's heater fails. The driver pulls over and polls the passengers: go on or turn back? It was unanimous: go on. I'm pretty sure the temperature stayed above freezing all 300km to Calgary, but that's what the coat's for.

Calgary, in winter has homeless guys living on the street, in temps of below -40°C at night. I wandered about during the day at only -25°C - what a wuss. (It didn't feel as cold as it sounds, as long as there was no wind, because there was zero moisture in the air.)

The Greyhound to Vancouver left at 1PM, and headed straight in to the Rockies - beautiful. Then it got dark. We changed drivers every couple of hours, so I knew they were awake, but still... this huge road-eating monster doing 80mph, at night, down twisty snow-covered roads through the Rockies.

I entered a Zen-like state of ... acceptance. My ego departed my body, and I resigned myself to my fate. If I was going to die, in a remote region of the Rockies, in the middle of a winter night; what a way to go, eh? Until then, there was a romantic comedy on the TV, which kept my mind away from the trees rushing past the window. I was just a prisoner, a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway. Can't wait to do it again, but if I do, I'll make sure to carry some cognac in a flask.

16 hours later, at 6AM Vancouver time, a busload of zombies staggered in the general direction of downtown Vancouver, their primal groans audible to anyone with ears to hear: "Starbucks... Starbucks..."

Length? About 800 hairy miles.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 1:10, Reply)
Another jumper today
King's Langley this time (usually it's Harrow)

Anyhoo got the clunker (1 hour) to Watford, then a virgin to MK, spoke to a very nice lass going to manchester (never mind) got a cab home..

sound's easy, but believe me the public transport is uber cock
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 1:09, 1 reply)
From my diary, July 7th 2005:
Just got back home after about ten hours travelling from work.

My train this morning was delayed for some reason. Bloody typical. Fire at kings cross. That's all right, I get out at Russell square. Walk to the office. Sit down at my computer. Mark a few answers. Everyone else comes in. In a minute I'll get a coffee. Big bang outside. Sounded like something falling off a lorry onto the road. I mark a few more questions. Boss comes in. he seems a bit flustered. He says theres a bus outside on its side with its roof blown off. We should stay away from the windows and sit near a wall. The HR woman comes down. We leave by the fire exit. Police everywhere. Everything's cordoned off. The traffic lights are changing colour in tavistock square, but there's no traffic. We sit down on the pavement.

If the bus had blown up about five seconds later, or if the bomb had been on the other side of the bus, it would have been right outside the windows to our office.

The train I was on, had it left Russell Square, would have passed on the opposite side of the track from the train that blew up between King's cross and Russell Square about a minute after I got off.

After about ten minutes, the police moved us away from the road, and everyone from my office went and sat in a park. At this point, everyone was still wondering whether more bombs were going to go off. we figured the park was safe as it wasn't anywhere near any major roads. We stayed there an hour. Then we were told we had to go to central office in Holborn. We walked there, about a mile. Edexcel put us up for a couple of hours. Free food and drink. About 2.30pm we'd all signed in and were allowed to go home. No buses in zone 1. Walked from holborn to finsbury park, about 2 hours. Got a bus to Golders Green, another to Finchley. Dad picked me up there and took us home.

Bloody public transport.
(, Sat 31 May 2008, 0:15, 3 replies)
trains buses and the HELL I suffer daily!
where do I start, ok here goes with a few PET hates..............

1. People who think their bag needs a seat FUCK OFF it does!!
2. People who are asleep on trains with bags on seats I like to wake them rudely then run off ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (don't ever fall asleep on the Stoke train that's all I can tell you!)
3. Kids why oh WHY do mothers think EVERYONE wants to hear you laughing and applauding at everything your horrible chocolate faced stinky little whinging rat does??
4. Crying kids on buses with chavvy mothers in dobber clobber and with T shirts over their MASSIVE fat bellies/tits with BABE written on there is false advertising if EVER I saw it.
5. Mobile phones being used as the 21st century ghetto blasters ARGH!
6. Old People thinking they can push in front of you at bus stops and trains just cos your old doesnt mean you go first back of the queue!
7. Crying babies, kids, old folks
8. Dogs..... flea ridden dogs that sit on you (this has happened to me twice!)
9. Becoming the nutter magnet and being told by a random lady that she is an adult baby nanny! (TRUE story)
and finally
10. Bus drivers who think there are on Rita at alton towers.... T W A T S

Thats all ooh I can feel a lie down being needed and not one on a bus and DEFO not a train....
(, Fri 30 May 2008, 23:37, 4 replies)
Bad got better
Travelling across Europe to spend a year as a German assistant, I had missed my connection so ended up utterly alone, sitting staring at a huge map of Europe wondering which country I was even crossing, it was the middle of the night, I had no hotel booked, no idea where I should get off, only a copy of the Naked Lunch for company, given to me by my rather bizarre boyfriend of the time who I also wouldn't see for the next year. I sat crying, and wishing I'd paid more attention in geography.
Then the guard appeared. He was called Jean-Yves, and was clearly an angel in disguise. He told me it was not right that pretty women should be sitting crying on his train, dried my tears, gave me directions, a roll-up and a can of beer. I still remember him, what a nice guy. He restored my faith in humanity that night.
(, Fri 30 May 2008, 23:16, Reply)
Things not to say & do on public transport.......
At risk of repeating myself from some other QOTW, I very very very rarely travel on the chav wagons that pass for buses round our way (1hr 30 mins to do a journey that takes me 20 minutes....what the fuck is that all about???)

sometimes tho, sometimes when I'm too tight for a taxi and can't find a willing friend to drive me to drink I have to brave the 'public transport experience'

Some do's first of all....

1) take a pair of earphones, even if you don't have your MP3 player with you put them in your ears, so none of the nutters who come and sit near you, and beleive me if you rarely travel by public transport you act like a nutter magnet.

2) sit at the back, right at the back. If waiting for one of those 'buses' to come along make sure you are first in the queue, then get on the bus like you own (and for the price it is these days you probably do) and then sprawl on the back seat.

All the hard kids at school used to sit at the back so if you sit at the back scowling and sprawled out as if its your couch at home, then no-one will sit near you in case you are a nutcase.

3)Tut loudly every time it stops, and sigh theatrically at the amount of time it takes people to get on and off, keep tapping your feet and looking at your watch as well.

Now most importantly, things not to say and do on buses.

1) If someone rings you up and asks where you are do not say 'Riding the poverty wagon surrounded by fat dobbers in tracksuits who smell of old meat' they don't like that.

2) When the driver asks you where to don't say 'Home James & don't spare the horses'
also when ringing the bell don't tap the driver when your outside your house and say here's fine pal!

3) DO NOT read the Metro, whilst its an entertaining paper, any example thats left in captivity at the end of the day will have been read by people who catch buses.

You have seen the state of the people who catch buses, the fat slags in short skirts with a hundred children in different shades of brown like a dulux colour chart.

The weird bloke of an indeterminate age with a mouldy green anorak, bottle top glasses and a carrier bag who smells of old cheese, wee and cabbages and who probably lives at home with his mother and who has a scary interest in small children.

The old old old lady with a tartan shopping trolley, who falls to sleep and you wonder whether to wake her in case she's actually died, she smells of cat food and talks to herself.

The youth in a hoodie who if he wasn;t riding this bus would probably be trying to stab you, steal your car or fuck your mum. And he has more spots than Spottyman from Superted with measels.

The Emo, relatively harmless but if I hear My Chemical romance blaring out of a mobile phone then I'm sorry but I will not be responsible for my action.

All these people catch buses, all these people look to be carrying some new form of disease, and if you pick up that Metro then you will be ill.

Public transport? More like the travelling hospital wagons for the sick, bewildered, lost and fucking scary.

After ten minutes in a bus I miss my lovely dream machine, with its air con, its accelerator, its choiceof music, its comfortable ride, and the fact that i can drive it where I like when I like.

Fucking buses. Fuck 'em.
(, Fri 30 May 2008, 23:16, Reply)
Ick! Just thought of another one..
Saturday morning, I'm nursing the obligatory hangover and catching the bus into town.
The bus was full, as buses often are on a saturday so I opted to stand at the front, clinging onto a pole.
Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever the fat kid sat opposite me on the sideways seats starts puking nasty yellow bilge into the luggage-y bit, while his mate just casually sits there as though this is the norm.
It looked like Red Bull, but thicker and as I watched it slosh from side to side I really had to restrain myself from adding to it.
I was still miles from town so I couldn't even get off the bus, the only thing I could do was stand there watching it to make sure it didn't slop over onto me.
Then the bus starts descending quite a steep hill, at this point I'm sweating with the effort of not chundering my own fragile guts up.
Slowly the stream of yellow stomach ooze starts to seep over the lip of the luggage hold and work it's way across the floor in the direction of my feet.
That was the final fucking straw, the bus slowed, the doors opened and I bolted as far away from that filthy fat fucker and his rancid puke as I could possibly get.

(, Fri 30 May 2008, 22:43, Reply)
The IRA were grate!1!!
I started my career in London (By "Career" I mean "Jesus, why didn't I work harder at school and get a decent job? I'm such a fucking idiot, Accounts?..really?..me?..I wanted a fucking job that actually meant something to someone..Bollocks")

I decided to start working in London at the very height of the IRA bombings. GOOD PLAN. I'm sure plenty of B3tans remember those halcyon days of yore...If you were going to get bombed, it was going to be in a bin or an attended bag; not strapped to some poor bugger who thought that heaven awaited just around the corner (after he'd wiped out a bunch of innocent people just trying to get to work)

Anyway, I missed my train, which was via London Bridge one morning. I can't remember exactly why, but I remember that I felt that horrible sinking feeling as I realised I was going to have to change trains at Lewisham. The dreaded clatter down a set of steps in high heels (jump..clack..jump..clackety clack) followed by the interminable wait and then a slow ride into London with my face in an armpit. I decided to jump on the next train into Victoria.

I missed the London Bridge bomb by moments.

I spent 4 hours on a train outside Lewisham. It was pretty shit to be honest, this was before mobile phones and we all just sat and looked at each other. Eventually I cracked, turned off my walkman (the batteries went, if I'm honest) and looked pleadingly at the woman opposite me..."Bloody Hell" I said "What do you think has happened?"

"Train run out of petrol innit?"

(, Fri 30 May 2008, 22:39, 1 reply)
Once a priest, a vicar and a rabbi got on a bus I was on
but then I couldn't think of anything.
(, Fri 30 May 2008, 22:35, Reply)
Travelling via Birmingham's New Street Station
Is never a pleasurable experience, but one particular journey stands out for me.
It was a friday afternoon, I was the wrong end of a 3 hour train journey and to top it all off I had just spent a whole week in Burton Upon Trent.

Upon boarding the train I wasn't particularly surprised to find there were no seats available, so I cut my losses and plopped myself down on my suitcase in the little spacey bit between the doors and the toilet.
This arrangement suited me fine until such point we reached Birmingham. Before the train had even come to a halt there were people clawing at the doors from every conceievable angle, I watched businessmen savagely beating eachother with their laptop cases, women and children were being tossed into the air, one particularly elderly woman was jabbing people in the ribs with her walking stick. It was like a scene from Lord Of The Flies.

Before I could even think about repositioning the train doors flew open and what seemed like the entire population of Japan scrabbled aboard, wedging themselves in, and pinning me to the wall.

15 minutes later and a barely audible voice announces to the carriage that this train will not be leaving the platform until at least 50 passengers disembark. The silence that followed was deathly, had there been room a tumbleweed might've even blown down the length of the carriage. Everyone on board twitched nervously, waiting for someone else to sacrifice their journey time for the sake of everyone else's.

After what seemed like an eternity the train finally began to move.
Due to the vast number of people crammed into such a small area, it wasn't long before the air started to get very hot, and damp.

Cramp was setting in and I had now noticed how badly the toilet smelt like pickled shit.

The window was steaming up with the condensation of 30 peoples' breath about an inch from the end of my nose, and I had nowhere to put my right leg.To steady myself I hitched up my right knee, with my foot ontop my suitcase.
With that the train lurched throwing the other passengers into my back, I now found myself with one leg in the air, my face pressed into the window and my arms stretched out either side of me hugging the wall like some kind of commuting spiderwoman.

I was stuck like this til we reached Cheltenham Spa!

Length? As long as it takes to clear your nostrils of the stench of a Virgin toilet
(, Fri 30 May 2008, 22:24, Reply)
Beer + Whiskey + NYC Subway (and Staten Island Ferry) = BAD idea
***Apologies for length!***

So I had only been a New Yawker for about 3 or 4 weeks when my Brother calls up and says "I am stopping off in NYC on my way up to Buffalo. Lets get drunk." My response: "WOOT!"

So he shows up, we get something to eat at a local ptomaine palace and grab a couple of sodas, then return to my flat to get 'gussied up' (that's southern for putting on a sport coat).

We head across the Staten Island ferry and then up to the Upper East Side, where, unbeknownst to me I had apparently lit a fire of attraction underneath some Irish bartenderess who kept slipping us free Guinness and Jamiesons! Double woot!

We leave, FAR too blind to actually SEE where we were going, let alone working out how to get there and we get on a train that will take us downtown close enough to the Staten Island ferry to walk. What we hadnt counted on was that it was 3:59am and we were too drunk to navigate the subway.

We of course, fall asleep, entirely missing our stop and ending up in Brooklyn. Not good.

Fortunately for all involved, I was awoken by a NYC constable poking my chest with his night stick. Never a good thing to wake up to. Apparently my Brother may (or may NOT) have wet himself in his drunken sleep. He says no, I say the large stain says otherwise.

So we change train directions and head back into the city, vowing that one of us must stay awake in order to make our stop. We agree. And we both fall asleep immediately.

This time, we wake up in HARLEM. Go look at a map. (1,2 or 3 line) We had traversed the ENTIRE island of Manhattan and were now in a VERY bad neighborhood. It was starting to be rush hour...

This time, through sheer dumb, drunken luck, we were able to get off at the right stop. We climb aboard the Staten Island Ferry and begin our crossing. I chose to lay down because, well, I was tired as does my Brother. Knowing the sensation of the ferry touching the berth, I wake up, waltz (stumble) down the gangplank thingy and head to my apartment about 5 blocks away.

I get home, collapse on my bed and fall back to sleep.

I wake up about an hour later to urinate (in the bathroom) and as I am heading back to my room I stop to get something to drink. Espying two opened sodas in the fridge I thought to myself: why on earth would I leave TWO sodas already opened in the fridge?

Then it hit me: I had left my big brother on the Staten Island Ferry. How was I to call home and tell my Parents: "Um, yeah, everythings going GREAT up here! However I seemed to have misplaced my big Brother."

When I found him, loping off the boat in the manner that one can only truly pull off in that happy stage between 'still drunk' and 'hungover', he had transited from NYC - Staten Island - NYC - Staten Island on the boat.

And neither of us lost a dime. We BOTH still had our wallets! I credit that to the mysterious liquid stain on my Brothers trousers!

Cheers, and again, apologies for length!

(, Fri 30 May 2008, 22:08, 1 reply)
Im suprised I havnt seen any posts about this type of person before.

For our friends at the other side of the pond.. Easyjet is a no frills airline, offering cheap travel around europe. They dont do seat allocations on check in. More boarding groups.

What amuses me about easyjet is Speedy Boarding. Be the first to sit on the aircraft!! Woo hoo! Does that mean youre going to get to your destination any quicker? Nope! Then there is speedy boarding plus! Which allows you to go to a special check in desk with no queue! Woo hoo! Once again, am I going to arrive in Spain any quicker to start my holiday in the sun? No. What on earth posesses people to spend the extra on this?

Then of course youve got Boarding group A. Those sad fuckwits that turned up at the airport 3 hours early for a 3 hour flight. Then Boarding Group B, the majority of the plane. And then Boarding group C. The late checkins and retards who managed to miss their flight.

So sat in departure lounge. Special Assistance is called.. And half of boarding group B get up. Trying to push infront of wheelchairs and pushchairs. They then hang around right next to the door ready to get in there first. Finally we're boarding and people are literally running through the air tunnel to make sure they get those emergency exit seats with the extra leg room like their life depended on it.

Its carnage.

After landing people are just as eager to get off the plane as on it. Only to be stood in the immigration queue with the other 5 flights that just landed. And then to be stood waiting for the bags to come through. So all that expensive speedy boarding shite or pushing around and generally being a cunt gets you no where does it.

And last time i flew with easyjet I prooved it. I turned up at the airport about 5 minutes before my checkin was due to close. As everyone was checked in, i walked straight up to the checkin counter and checked in straight away with no clue. By the time i had a coffee and perused a couple of shops. They were calling boarding. So i went for a big long shit and read the paper.

I finally walks on the plane as they were threatening to close the gate, and the moment I stepped on they're closing the door and checking everyones got seatbelts on. Next minute we're off into the big blue.

After we landed, I got up to let those at the side of me out, then sat back down. Sent some texts as everyone pushing and shoving and getting pissed off with those who are taking too long to get their overhead bags down. Eventually as the plane was practically empty. I got up and wandered off to the airport. Straight through passport, to luggage hall and what did I see coming off? My bag! Last on, first off :) Grabbed it and left the speedy boarders waiting. Fuck you speedy boarders!

Length - Well I spent less time on a plane and in the airport than anyone else. (Of course you have to time this to perfection at risk of missing your flight)
(, Fri 30 May 2008, 21:54, 9 replies)

This question is now closed.

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