Oct 20, 2012

Day 5 and I'm stranded

After lunch, Aunty Sian drops me off at the train station to try and get a refund for my ticket (to no avail). And then I'm off on my own, map in hand, determined to check out at least two museums.

I stray into a clothes store.

Forty-five minutes fly by and I'm still trying to convince myself not to get the beautiful Christmas cards. (Will have to sell some away, just a heads-up, they're REALLY PRETTY) I instantly fall in love with a wallet. And then it's drizzling outside, so I hop in and out of shops - from Next to River Island to Fatface. And then I'm like shucks it's almost four-thirty I need to get to the museums before they close!!! And then Mum reminds me that I'm supposed to Skype her, so I spend another twenty minutes in Starbucks. And then half an hour in Boots trying to decide on which face moisturiser to get. And WAIT TWELVE POUNDS FOR BURBERRY WEEKEND?! I spray it on my wrist and love it, and fall into the buy-or-not-buy dilemma again. And then I decide that I really need to get to the Ashmolean Museum.

I spend about forty-five minutes there and cover the basement. Gotta go back there soon. And then it's almost 6pm so I decide to head to Castle Street where I'm supposed to take the bus back to the vineyard.

- Okay, actual rant about interesting experience starts here -

So the bus arrives at 6.15pm - strange, the electronic guide said it was supposed to arrive in 24 minutes -  but I decide not to take it because I'll arrive at the bus stop before Aunty Sian and Uncle Richard get home, so they won't be able to pick me up from the bus stop, and in the dark, I'd rather wait at a lit, crowded bus stop near the city centre than at a completely unlit, deserted bus stop in the countryside.

A kind girl directs me to the bus timings schedule, and it turns out that the bus is scheduled to arrive at 5.50pm, 6.20pm and 7.20pm. So the bus that I deliberately missed was probably the 6.20 bus, and now I have to wait till 7.20. Argh!

I wait at the bus stop for another fifteen minutes looking at the electronic guide to see if they'll tell me when exactly the next bus will arrive, but my bus number never appears on the screen. At about 6.40 I give up and assume that the next bus will arrive at 7.20, so I make my way to a nearby restaurant to get a £5 burger meal -


I say "shit" out loud and walk back towards the bus stop (for what?) and wonder what bus that was - the actual 6.20 bus, or the 7.20 bus, the last one. I stay at the bus stop and stare at the screen for fifteen long minutes (that's sixty seconds times fifteen of standing there craning my neck, mind you), hoping that my bus number will appear on the screen - if it doesn't, that might have been the last bus of the day.

Okay, okay, calm down now. Sniff your wrist. It smells so pretty. Gotta get that Burberry perfume.

Finally, at about 6.55, my bus number appears on the screen! It says it's arriving in 27 minutes - someone near me exclaims "twenty-seven minutes?!" - but I don't know how reliable that is since the count was 24 minutes off just now, so I decide to just sit there and wait until it arrives, so that I don't miss it again.

It's cold now, and the sky is dark. The crowd at the bus stop has now been reduced to two, including me. All my Whatsapp conversations have stopped - it's sleep-time in Singapore. Battery's low, so I switch off my 3G. Cut off. Now, I think, this is the kind of scene that is supposed to fuel some emo blog post - memories are supposed to be flooding me and I'm supposed to be all gloomy and wistful now - but there's not a hint of any of that. I'm cold and I need my bus to arrive. I look at the bar nearby and wonder if I should risk going in and grabbing a bite, so I wait for my bus number to pop up on the screen again, just to be sure.

After forever, the screen displays my bus number again. 19 minutes. That gives me until about 7.15pm. I go into that bar and check out their food and the burger meal's also £5, so I order one and ask if I can do a takeaway. "No, we don't do takeaways... The burger takes about ten minutes to make..." I'm like ARGH NO SERIOUSLY and my phone says 7.07pm so I say ah nevermind and rush back out. And the screen says 14 minutes more -.-

Cold, cold, where's my bus, and then FINALLY it says the bus is "due"! I'm so relieved that I even take a photo of it.

And I wait, and wait, and wait, and the bus doesn't arrive for at least another five minutes. Finally it comes and I get on. One stop later, these men get on and one of them goes, "So I was waiting for the 6.20 bus and I missed one that came at 6.15, and then I tried to get the timings for the next one but the system wasn't responding, so I walked into (eating place) and then I saw the bus go right past me! So I had to wait an hour for this bus!" I turned around and said that it happened to me, too. "Yeah, what a donkey, ey. Hate it," he said in that English accent.

I almost miss my stop at the countryside - everything's totally dark outside so I really wouldn't have known where to get off if I had not walked to the front and asked. When I get off, it's a starless, moonless sky, and the only lights come from the red traffic lights and the small Shell station sign (not the station itself) a distance away. I turn on my iPhone flashlight so that I can see where I'm walking. My breath makes that fog thing. I'm shivering. I'm carrying my coat, but I can't stop and put down my stuff and put it on when it's almost pitch dark. Being cold while your coat's draped over your arm - it's like thirsting to death in a boat in the middle of the sea.

As I'm heading towards the petrol station (where there's light), I hear someone call out to me. It's Uncle Richard! I cross the street and make my way to him. I'm all shivering and jittery in the car.

"So how was it?"
"Man, that was... an experience."
"A bad one?"
"An interesting one."


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