Friday, 21 September 2012

Graffiti thunderbolt ...

Another journey ...

Leaving the big city for the small island, this time not with a heavy heart. However my latest journey has opened my eyes even further to what is happening to the nation.

The bus packed to the rafters, I did get a funny look when i punched my 90cent ticket - Half the bus looked round in utter amazement.

Its 90 cents for a single fare - anywhere, think a city the size of Birmingham. Or €1 as many buses as you like in one and a half hours. Ken Livingstone must be proud, his famous initiative lives on ...

You know i like to observe whats going on, well no one is paying, or validating tickets, How long before the bus company runs out of money for diesel. The bendy buses are full, whatever the time of day or night you travel. If Hitler had this form of transport we would all be doing the ministry of funny walks right now.

Interestingly the majority of the people, cross themselves each time the bus passes a church. There are a lot of churches here so the observance is quite apparent. However most of the passengers are stealing from the means of transport that allows them to pay their respects. The Greek 11th commandment, Thou ancient nation shalt not pay thyne fare ...

If they ever finish digging the metro, it will be the same, London and New York are the only places i have been with gates at the stations.

Another observation, I photographed a beautiful church the other day, Today it has a beautiful Greek protest in English, painted on the side "The government is full of Murderers"...

Parts of this city would not look out of place in India, the filth, the depravation, the squalor. I have had  enough of my city travels. Enough of the graffiti that adorns everything, more and more each day, enough of the city type of people, and the lack of personal hygiene displayed by a certain element of society.

I have met some really lovely people - but some really dumb ones too. Sadly the dumb ones usually sit behind a desk or a bandit proof screen, have a lot of stamps, and feel very important. Mostly they do not seem to have a clue.

Arriving on the platform, no-one knows if the train that is here is the one for you. The station arrival and departures boards are very impressive and very similar to the ones in Eastern Europe states. However its quite apparent the last trains displayed here were probably in the days of steam, and the engines litter most of the sidings to this day.

I actually saw one set of decaying carriages, slowly being lifted off the rails, by the tree that had grown between the couplings - In a long forgotten yard of museum pieces, as we crawled by ...

The service train, which looks like something British railways discarded of in the 1970's was hard to see beneath the graffiti tags, which reach the roof - But OSE do clean the paint off the windows, so the customers can see out occasionally.

Enforced seat reservation and naturally someone sitting in your seat. Disputing the fact that they had this seat on the previous journey, as stated on their ticket two days ago, and that their seats are in fact one coach and 30 seats distant.

Its not hard, and they do make the process easy for those who do not understand.

  • There is a picture of a train and next to it the train number, (Not much help at all) 
  • It says 'from and to' just in case you forget
  • There is a picture of a coach  and a number - so as it has five and me a ticket for three, then its the one in the middle as the outside of the train has artwork where the coach numbers used to be
  • Then a picture of a seat and a number for you to sit at. Here they help you by having a chrome number attached to the train above the window 

So how do they sit in the wrong seat ?

Settled into my seat having dispatched the squator, and their accumulated personal effects - Why do people think they have two seats, when they buy a ticket for one? The skies outside were heavy, and amazing cloud formations as little twisters dropped from the cloudbase, as it boiled and lowered and darkened in anger.

As we hit around 140kph the storm was buffeting the train, the thunder evident within the carriage. Torrential rain was streaming over the windows, like fire hoses were being played across them, and the lightning constant and all around us,

It was the Dantes inferno express ...

People got on and off, some wet, some dry and others played seat roulette like me earlier. Changing trains we boarded the Volos express, famous for never departing on time. Today no different, the driver being told on the radio he had 20 minutes, so go and have a coffee, so he did ...

On the way the low sunlight, illuminating the Pelion hills beautifuly, as the farmers combined and burned the fields. What a sunset as the skies were turned amber and radiant red, as the last remnants of the storm clouds treated us to a visual display. Out over the sea, the rain streaming down, and lightning forking down from indigo thundercaps ...

Horns blasting squealing and vibrating we shuddered to a halt - Twenty minutes late of course. and the train was mobbed as passengers fought their way on, as we fought our way off.

Welcome to Volos, and a €7 four minute taxi trip, where once again, the driver did not have a clue where he was going - But as they say ' This is Greece' ...

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