20,000 leagues under the sky, 2004- travel blog


15499km from Hong Kong.

The train was doing a bit of a dance at the platform when I got there, coming and going with carriages added or removed each time so I waited until it looked safe before boarding. It looked fairly full with reservation tags on most of the seats but I found a carriage that had been added at Basel and was only going as far as Luxembourg which was empty so I parked myself in there thinking that I would change in or before Luxembourg to a carriage continuing to Brussels. Almost as soon as the train left the station a ticket inspector came round and told me that I had to move carriage and my French isn't good enough to argue. The next carriage along was packed but there was an empty compartment that was "reserved for Luggage" so I sat in there hoping for a nice quiet scenic ride. I thought that I might get thrown out of there too but I wasn't so other people joined me, first a young French woman and then some woman of unknown origin, obviously somewhere in Eastern Europe but not speaking any language that I recognised. She had two young sons with her and I sensed trouble straight away. Why couldn't they have a play area on this train too, preferably at the other end of the train (or even more preferably on the rails in front of the train)? These two were complete brats who wouldn't sit still and insisted in bouncing around the compartment. The older one was a trainee in the art of the evil stare but no match for me. There wasn't much leg room in the compartment which meant that I kept accidentally kicking him when I stretched my legs.

Needless to say that this wasn't the most pleasant leg of the journey even though the scenery was nice rolling French countryside. I was lacking in humour after my previous sleepless night and would have enjoyed catching a few Zzzzs. I was praying that they would get off in Luxembourg and amazingly they did, hallebloodyluiah - to be replaced by a woman with THREE young sons, two of them about the same age as the last two and one slightly older. The younger two were just as bratish as the last ones so much so that the older one was embarrassed by them and tried to ignore them. Fortunately although they were little bastards too these ones were actually quite funny and as they were talking French I had a vague idea what they were saying.



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