Trains

first_imgI spent a relatively normal day in Brussels, eating chicken, breaking into duck ponds and other such  leisurely activities. A friend took me to the train station, I waited for half an hour and hopped on a train  that was clearly marked “Liege”. The porter had told me it was quite a slow train so I listened to Lou Reed  and read for a while. An hour and a half had passed, I was beginning to get suspicious. Getting to Brussels had only taken  me an hour.I was restless. A PVC ball with a tennis ball inside rolled towards me so I stood up and  asked the whole carriage if it was theirs. I spoke in French, no-one responded. So I sat back down and  tried to extract the tennis ball from the PVC ball surrounding it. A gang of grannies to my left were  giggling at me so I said in French, would you like to try? They didn’t understand me, one of them spoke  to me in English, twist it, she said. I handed her the ball and they didn’t succeed. It was getting dark outside. I thought it was a good idea to check that the train was indeed going to  Liege. I stood at the end of the corridor and got chatting in English to a man who looked stereotypically sleazy (leather jacket, gelled hair, gold necklace). He explained that we were in (Dutch-speaking)  Flanders, that the train had split a while ago and this part was not going to Liege. That gave some  explanation for why no-one could understand me, and also made me see that half of the Belgian  population cannot communicate with the other half. It’s as if the Welsh couldn’t understand the English.  Absolute madness. I asked Mr. Sleaze what he thought the best route was for me to get back to Liege. He said to get off at  the next stop, then he paused and said “but we can go get a drink, then I can drive you. It is nicer in a  car.” “No, no,” I replied. “Why you say no? You scared?” “Well, it is a bit dangerous don’t you think? I  mean I don’t know you.” I hopped off the train and Mr Sleaze said, “quick, quick, there is a train to Liege on platform three,” and  I ran and I caught it. It delivered me home safely.last_img read more