Diary of The Travelling Seanchai :-
The Bus trip from Hell!
2007-06-12 to 2007-06-13
One of the lads in the hostel was going to London aswell so we decided to travel together. The fact his name was Gerry Adams gave me only momentary concern, but the irony was truly not lost on me!
We were going to take an overnight bus leaving Paris and getting in at 6am. No problem, a relaxing overnight bus, what could go wrong, right?!
Well the bus was packed and right behind us sat this guy with a penchant for self mumbling that immediately made me think of Muttley the cartoon character, well if Muttley was a fat, middle aged, smelly man who stunk of booze and cigarettes. But he was getting on drunk so I was fairly confident that when he had finally finished his bottle of wine that he would fall soundly asleep and we would be serenaded with a hearty and regular snore but I had woefully underestimated his ability to annoy.
Ten minutes into the trip he had claimed the toilet as his personal smoking section, then came out and once seated, inhaled a mass of oxygen which he generously replaced with a noxious mix of smoke and cheap booze. This he did 5 times before we took a break, going from spy like surreptitiousness initially to sparking up before he walked down the aisle and reluctantly went into his cubicle!
We complained at the break but the driver said he didn`t speak English or French (strange for a guy on this route I thought). Now you might ask why we didn`t force him to stop. Well this guy was clearly unhinged as his strange language testified. Now I am getting good at deriving where people are from but his unique mix of English, French, drivel and slur, sprinkled amply with a sound dose of Tourette`s made this guy a mystery and entirely unapproachable.
Still, saying that, several of us did just that to which he would earnestly reply, “Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry…….” and then after a few seconds grace, would round it off with an emphatic, “F*ckin` French!”, a comment he was to repeat at least 20 times during the trip.
It wasn`t just us though that he was apologising to as at one point he said `Sorry world, but it will be over soon`. A brief moment of worry crossed my mind but then again I didn`t think that most suicide bombers wore a Beyonce baseball cap and a keyring of her around their neck unless the sultry singer has developed a new religion of crazies I didn`t know about!
After I had told him to be quiet and a few minutes after he had apologised to me 10 times (declining to shake his hand which may have been a mistake), he reached around my head rest with his baseball cap which was either a peace offering or an indication that he could get to me with whatever he might possess if I talked to him again.
When he wasn`t swigging his wine, cursing at us and the world or taking numerous fag breaks, he was rearranging his baffling array of plastic bags. It was like those Russian dolls, he would take them all out, then place one into another, place them into another and so on till he could fit them all into his gear bag, where he would then give us all a satisfactory and self congratulating, “F*ckin` French!” and then open them all and do it again!
When we got to the Ferry he was the first off the bus and he was running around the Duty Free like someone in Supermarket Sweep! He was then drinking his whiskey a little too close to the boats edge. Not that he was in danger of falling in himself but the words `Justifiable Homicide` kept going through my head so I retreated to a safe distance for his sake.
But we were going through English customs, the no nonsense first line of defence of the Monarchy. We had to take our bags off the bus and line up to get them scanned. Our man didn`t take his bag (of bags) off the bus but instead walked up to the front of the queue (clearly staggering) and wanted to impress that he should be let through immediately. Excellent I thought, that`s he`s undoing as he was summarily moved away to one side to speak to an officer. I had listened to him for four hours and he hadn`t made an ounce of sense so with some unchristian delight I returned to the bus safe in the knowledge that I might get some sleep as he wasn`t coming back.
Instead, he came out a few minutes later, SCREAMING and ROARING in his unique, belligerent language, at the bus and all of us with a stream of curses, the only one somewhat intelligible being “Stereof*ck”!! I was now convinced that he had been told to retrieve his bag and that he was being detained and that he was equally convinced that it was one of us that had dobbed him in.
But no, amazingly they had let this freaking lunatic through! “We can`t let you through sir, oh hold on, it seems that we do have an opening for a crazy drunken person to sit in one of our parks and scream obscenities at our tourists all day for their amusement!”
I couldn`t believe it, this obvious alcoholic wino was being allowed enter England despite the fact that he could have had a kilo of heroin in his unchecked bag because he had played the “mentally unstable weirdo” card to such aplomb!
This added fire to his belly, which he tried admirably to extinguish for the next 2 and a half hours. I couldn`t believe his energy levels. “Je ne pas going to bleeg blarn koala be up ta stereof*ck balloons and escargots carnawalla F*ckin French, stereof*ck Jose Maurinho”
One young Leeds lad thought he was hilarious and regularly stoked the flames by talking to him and even partaking in whiskey. I didn`t know who I wanted to hurt more. Weirdo guy was then incredulous that the driver had taken the decision to lock the toilet, not because it stopped him smoking but presumably because now it meant everyone else had to endure it. The only bit of delight I had was when the Leeds lad nearly ruptured his bladder waiting for us to arrive in Victoria Station, irony alive and well in the English capital then!
So we arrived, with him just getting going and probably looking forward to visiting relatives below a bridge, the stupid fat Beyonce loving troll. So the next time you throw some belligerent bum some money, don`t automatically think that they are going to run to a liquor store and blow it on cheap whiskey. Oh no, some of them save it up, travel abroad and buy it at Duty Free!