Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oh, Belgium

So this isn't a full update, but just a bit of complaining about Brussels in a humorous way. 

So today Joan and Maureen (Miguel's aunt and cousin) got here from Dublin. It was my job to go out and collect them at the airport. I checked the bus schedule and thought, heh no problem. The weird thing was, I knew the bus I wanted, the 12. The 12 is the express to the airport. The 21 is the non-express to the airport. Hence, the 12 is the one I wanted. I decided on that, checked the times and where it went (Place Luxemburg), and thought ok, that works. Miguel said I could pick it up in front of Fat Boy's (the American burger place in Place Lux).

So I got up this morning around 7:30 and got ready to head out to the bus stop. I got there, and in front of Fat Boys there are signs for the 21 to the Brussels Airport, with a separate tariff (price) to go to the NATO building. It also lists the 12 in the schedule, but not in detail. Ok... A 21 comes by and it says NATO, I ask, and it does not go to the airport. I looked all around Place Lux for other signs, but nothing. So, fine, I go back to Fat Boy's and I wait. 

And wait.

And then, there's a 12, but it didn't stop! So I start chasing it, like a dog, through Place Lux. And out of Place Lux. And away I go, catching up at stop lights. This goes on for a while, but finally, I lost the bus. Shit. 

I start walking back. to Place Lux, coughing and sniffling and sweating away despite the chill. All of a sudden, there is another 12! Shit. I ran again. I chased it a slightly shorter distance back to just at the corner of Place Lux where it stops, lets people off, and I get on. 

And wait. For nearly 10 minutes. Where I was, where I had chased the bus to, was, in actuality, the end of the line! So there I sat as my breathing gradually slowed waiting for the lights to come on and the engine to start. About 10 minutes pass. Finally, we got going. 

The upsides to all this were: 1) Starbucks at the airport (the only one in Belgium that I know of) and 2) On the way back, I was THE expert on the bus. I was trying to get Maureen and Joan tickets for the bus, and the machine wasn't working (it's a euro more expensive when you buy on the bus). There was a queue that I supposed was angry at the hold up. I eventually gave up on my transaction, and when the man behind me had trouble, I explained it to him. Then the rest of the line started to ask me questions about the fare, the bus itself, etc. After explaining everything to about 10 English-speakers and taking control of the situation, the bus arrived and we got on. The came the questions about where the bus stops, and if I would tell them when we were in such-and-such a place. All of this I did until we got off the bus where I had got on. So I came off as an expert, having nearly failed to ride the bus once. The airport should totally hire me. 

No comments:

Post a Comment