Whilst this is not a particularly scintillating blog I feel I would not alone in such a situation.
The hazard of not knowing the local language was truly evident today.
Every 2nd day I catch a train to go to lessons.
Today, I caught my usual train/metro. It normally requires 1 interchange and is a few stations from home to my final destination.
Halfway through my journey about 4 stops away from the correct interchange the train suddenly stops to a grinding halt. I look around trying to find a friendly face; all that I encounter are stoic, glazed expressions, I chance my fate and carry on like I know what’s going on.
It soon becomes apparent that something is happening and not knowing what I text my husband telling him of my situation (really WTH for as he’s a good hour away) all the while trying not to panic.
My life flashes before my eyes and I think “WTF, does it all end on a metro in a country where I know no-one, let alone the language”, then all those movies I have watched over the years with accidents in trains i.e. – Money train, Unstoppable, The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3 etc. flash through my mind (Drama queen) Suddenly a rather stern voice comes over the intercom in rapid fire Mandarin and all I manage to grasp out of this commentary is “…..Madang Lu….Dapuqiao…..Jiashan lu….…Zhaojiabang……XuJiaHui……”
Ok, my powers of deduction and logic tell me that the train has something wrong, but clearly, by mentioning these stations it means that we can still get off at them if need be.
My keen powers of observation then deduce the next station is Madang Lu so we are good to go, however, at Madang Lu, a mass exodus of train commuters get off,“Ok, don’t panic, everything will be fine as half the train are still on board” the train then proceeds to start up, the next thing you know we are flying….we pass Dapuqiao station without stopping, then Jiashan Lu station without stopping, at this stage slight panic has set in, not to mention thoughts of being “addressed for being late to lessons” (in theory I still have heaps of time to meander to school for lessons), suddenly we pass my stop Zhaojiabang Lu, ok, a slightly elevated level of panic has set in and I look towards to the metro map to wonder where I will end up!
I then precede to text my teacher advising her of the conundrum to which she so blithely replies “No worries get off at the next station it stops at and just track back”.
This is something that I thought off (clearly) but my main concerns were;
“What station will that be?”
“I am going to miss half my lesson time and my Laoshur (teacher) might be a little pi$$ed”
In my state of distress, I jump off at the first station that the train stops at, not knowing where it is.
Through the throngs of other locals, who must have been in daydream land during said announcement, I then bolt to the other side of the platform and wait diligently for the next train to (arrive 15 minutes later).
Once on said train, the thought suddenly occurred to me that I should have perhaps looked on the phone app for an alternate train or headed out to get a taxi….For any sane level headed person (i.e. my husband) this is what should have occurred.
But of course, why not make the journey more difficult and proceed to further fluster oneself and jump on the first available train and head back to the nearest station one knows to redo the journey all over again. Hindsight is a b*Tc8.
2 unplanned interchanges, 1 at an unfamiliar station and a few stops later I ended up at my final destination.
The irony of all this was that I was heading to Mandarin Lessons!