The Hunger Games

21 Oct

Public transport in the First World is wonderful, sometimes! I decide that I don’t feel like waiting for the hourly train home and go scouting around the bus station right next to Brussels-Midi. Sure enough there it is, of course no actual real person in sight to ask for information but very informative LCD displays, neatly lined-up rows of buses, announcing departure times and places. I scout around wondering who to ask, I don’t even know how to buy a ticket and surfing around the bus website has not brought much joy! There is a lone older man, he looks a bit surly, a young guy with a middle-aged non-whitish woman, she is very friendly but announces with dismay that if I wish to go in the direction of Waterloo, I am at the wrong bus terminal, the Wallonia terminal is decidedly on the wrong side of the tracks, it’s like stepping out of Sandton into Soweto, a hodge podge of bus stops, a couple of potholes, a few numbers displayed, I know that I am looking for number 155 but it’s nowhere in sight, no info stand and definitely no information of any kind announcing departure times and places. Well what happens if you don’t live in Flanders or Wallonia but in one of the seven strange communes that remind me of something from The Hunger Games- we live in a facility commune, meaning in our case (I think) that this is a traditionally Flemish area but because so many French-speaking people have moved here, it’s legal to speak and expect to be spoken to and be served in either French or Dutch. It doesn’t help me an awful lot, both are foreign languages to me and the banks/police/municipality/telephone company never cease to be amazed when I tell them they can address me in either, it messes with the system because above all, everything is divided into language in the first case, there are two socialist/green/communist parties because before you decide on your political persuasion you have to decide on your linguistic persuasion, and hence among a much convoluted linguistic route, I find out that there are two bus companies operating seemingly independantly and I still don’t know where to catch the bus, I suppose mostly because I don’t have a linguistic persuasion. I wonder around still thinking that I am a protaganist in The Hunger Games, if I can work it out, the prize would be to take the bus home and have lunch. Pretty soon I realise that I am probably one of those participants that will never make it and am destined to not get the information I want, so I trudge back to the train station, I no longer have to wait an hour anyway as I have whiled it away on my fruitless fact-finding mission, hopefully there will be food at home…


Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


3 responses to “The Hunger Games

  1. Rina de Klerk

    October 22, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Hi, Ons het presies dieselfde ervaring gehad toe ons in Brussels aankom uit Brugge en ‘n bus wil neem na Marianne-hulle, selfde rondsoek en niemand kry om te vra nie! Na ‘n amper gesins onderonsie, plaas ek toe vir Hennie en Rina by ‘n koffietafeltjie en gaan vind uit by die treininligting dat daar eintlik nie ‘n bus in daardie rigting is van Brussels-Midi af nie, so toe ry ons ook trein! Lyk my niks verander nie!

  2. Olivia de Vos

    October 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Mens moet weet om die regte vrae te vra en weet vir wie om ditte vra, het ek jou vertel toe ek nommer 1615 gaan soek het, regte straat, maar geen nimmer op die gebou en nommer 1615 is tussen nommer 28 en 33, mens sou dink jy sal dit vir iemand se as jy vir hulle so n adres gee, ek raak nie meer altyd te ontsteld nie!!!

  3. Olivia de Vos

    October 22, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    O maar daar is busse want ek sien hulle hier ry, ek weet net nie wat jy moet doen nie… uiters frustrerend!


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