Saturday, March 17, 2018

9W231: en route Mumbai VIA N80: en route London - part II

3 Oct, 2-3 minutes past 10 pm:

Now What? It was already past 10, and I had no ticket for 10:15 bus.
Last hope for the bus was internet banking. That worked and we managed to get a ticket!

Now we were waiting for the bus. So we booked the ticket for 10:15 bus at 2-3 minutes past 10, using bus app.

3 Oct 10:15 pm
Abhijit: Arey, the bus is not coming. That is why I do not prefer the bus. I use pool-car.
Me : Hey man, be positive, the bus will come. (We were already tensed and this man is hoping for the worse!! :D)

3 Oct 10:25 pm:

Finally, the bus came - N80 - Dusseldorf - Eindhoven - London was written on the route-board of the bus.

But now, I had another tension - this was a sheer after-effect of panic situation we just had; maybe Murphy's law (?)!

I should have checked the pickup and drop point of flixbus in Eindhoven. For, if it is not near Sanket's home, I would have to see for some local transport. Considering that the bus was reaching there at 12:15 am and Eindhoven being a relatively smaller city, that would be still more difficult.

Anyway, I got my passport checked and luggage kept in the luggage compartment but now I had no clue where would I be dropped and how am I going to travel in the foreign city at 12.15 am and catch flight to India tomorrow morning!

Then, me and Abhijit started asking the same to the driver and co-driver of the bus.

Now, they were French and knew very little English! Oh no! Ab yahi hona baki tha!
But, once you get struck in bad situation, you start feeling unlucky in every case.

"My English - poor!" - said the co-driver. We tried to ask the question to them in various ways, but as they were not getting the meaning of the question, they were simply reluctant to answer. When we approached the driver, he simply ignored us and started looking at the documents of other passengers. That driver, just reminded me of a typical ignorant public servant at many places in India.

Without that confirmation, I was also not ready to get into the bus. What a drama!

3 Oct 10:35 pm: I was just walking here and there and Abhijit was talking to other passengers to see whether he could get some information as to where is pickup point in the city of Eindhoven. There were people from various places in the world - viz., some from Arab countries, some from other countries etc. So it was very hard to find a person who would know both French and English in small subset of people, going from German city Dusseldorf to London via Eindhoven, Netherlands!

Meanwhile, through internet, I found that John F Kennedylaan (JFKLaan) is the pick-up/drop point for the bus. Off to google maps - I immediately saw where it is - on the map, it showed that it was far from station. This was certainly going worse than we thought!

SOS to Sanket for help! I asked him via whats app - He said that the JFKLaan is near his home.

By that time, Abhijit finally found a girl passenger who was also travelling with us in the bus. She knew both English and French and could talk to them! Oh, finally some help! 

Then, she asked the driver - "Is the pickup point at Eindhoven near the railway station?"
He was still reluctant to answer but said frowning, that it was near the station. However, considering the series of events that had happened I was not too sure. Because the way he answered was not ensuring enough.

Then, reluctantly I got into the bus. 

3 Oct 10:40 pm to 4th Oct 12:20 am: I would never forget that hour and half of my life. I was fully tensed. Although I was tired and body was demanding sleep, I simply could not afford to sleep. I turned on my GPS, risking mobile battery and started it to see where I am going. There I was amongst very few passengers who were awake during the travel, continuously looking into cellphone to see GPS tracking. Cutting through the blanket of darkness, the bus left the city of Dusseldorf. German roads are devoid of streetlights. That night, they were scarier for me.

The girls who asked the driver was sitting nearby. Her name was Jeanette.I requested her to do translation for me if the drivers make any announcement in the bus using speakers.

I have this habit of sleeping during travel. So I was afraid that if I keep sleeping while the bus stops at Eindhoven, I would straightaway wake up in London! But I don't have a valid visa for the same. Then I would get into legal troubles! Oh God! Fearing the same, I asked Jeanette, "How the bus will the bus cross the border, through tunnel or through ferry. "It is not certain!" she replied, "But there is a checking at the border!"

What a foolish thought I had! If a person does not have a valid visa, how would they allow him/her into their country! Anyhow, with full efforts I stayed awake throughout the journey. 

I could see the signboard showing direction towards Eindhoven. After 5 minutes or so, bus entered a city. "This must be the Eindhoven city", I thought. Although, I had spent just two days in the city, the street lights, white and yellow, were so assuring.

Finally, the JFKLaan was there. I could see the familiar bottle statues. 

John F Kennedylaan at Eindhoven

Haah! 😌😃

It was a feeling like coming to my home-town. At last, I was there at the city of Eindhoven - on the familier roads near station. I walked to Sanket's house. I could sleep for at least 4 hours at his home. By morning train at around 6:15 am, I reached Schiphol airport at around 9 pm. 

So there I was, from N80 en route London, to Flight 9W 231, en route Mumbai!  

A selfie clicked just after I reached Schiphol Airport

(This is a short incident which is very memorable to me. This was during my first foreign visit. I visited Netherlands and Germany for European PV Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition in Sept-Oct 2017. This incident is while return journey)

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